Panos Panay, who led the development of Windows 11 and shepherded the Surface product line, is leaving the company after almost 20 years. The announcement came just days before the next iteration of Surface is due to be unveiled at an event in New York City on Thursday.
Panay revealed the news in a posting on Twitter/X this morning.
After 19 incredible years at Microsoft, I've decided to turn the page and write the next chapter. I’m forever grateful for my time at Microsoft and the amazing people I had the honor to make products with.
— Panos Panay (@panos_panay) September 18, 2023
In an email to employees, reproduced by several tech news outlets including Windows Central, Rajesh Jha, Microsoft’s executive vice president of experiences and devices, said:
“After nearly 20 years at the company, Panos Panay has decided to leave Microsoft. Panos has had an incredible impact on our products and culture as well as the broader devices ecosystem. Under Panos’ leadership, the team created the iconic Surface brand with loved products. More recently, as the leader of Windows, the team has brought amazing services and experiences to hundreds of millions with Windows 11 on innovative devices including those from our OEM partners. He will be missed, and I am personally very grateful for his many contributions over the years. Please join me in wishing him well.
Moving forward, we will double down on our strategy. These changes will be effective immediately with Panos’ help in the transition.
Build silicon, systems and devices that span Windows, client and cloud for an AI world. This team will be led by Pavan Davuluri, who will report directly to me. Brett Ostrum, Nino Storniolo, Linda Averett, Ken Pan, Ralf Groene, Aidan Marcuss, Carlos Picoto, Stevie Bathiche, Robin Seiler, Ruben Caballero and Anuj Gosalia will move to report to Pavan with their teams intact. Windows planning and release management will continue to be in this team. Our commitment to Surface and MR remains unchanged.
Build experiences that blend web, services and Windows for an AI world. To this end, Shilpa Ranganathan, Jeff Johnson and Ali Akgun will directly report to Mikhail Parakhin and form a new Windows and Web Experiences Team, moving with their teams intact.
Yusuf Mehdi will take on the responsibility of leading the Windows and Surface businesses with our OEM and Retail partners. In addition, Charles Simonyi, Terri Chudzik and Erin Kolb will join the E+D management teams and Ralf Groene and Mike Davidson will work together on the best alignment on design teams. We will set up time for an AMA in the coming days to answer questions. Let’s continue to stay focused on executing on our existing plans. Thank you for all that you do, and the impact that you have for our customers and partners.”
The Verge reported in a tweet that Panay will not be present at Thursday’s event, which he had teased about in late August, saying he was “pumped to be in NYC on September 21 talking AI innovation from Microsoft!”
Jha did say that Panay will help in the transition to the new structure detailed in his email.