New leadership at Microsoft Canada with departure of Eric Gales

Nearly three years after he was promoted to the role and just months before the software giant will welcome over 14,000 partners to Toronto for the Worldwide Partner Conference, Eric Gales is on his way out as president of Microsoft Canada (NASDAQ: MSFT).

In a statement released to CDN, Microsoft Canada confirmed that following a 60-day transition period, Gales will be replaced as subsidiary president by Maxwell (Max) Long, a UK native who most recently served as vice-president of corporate accounts for the Microsoft’s worldwide small and midmarket solutions and partner group (SM&P) in Seattle.

“The decision comes from Eric feeling like he’s done what he needed to do in the role,” said Microsoft Canada spokesperson Paolo Pasquini. “This has become a two to three-year role. It’s a place where seasoned people go to show the business they can run a country. Eric has seen a lot of change, put in internal reforms and seen a lot of success, and now he’s decided he wants to focus on the next chapter of what he wants to do.”

Gales was promoted to the role of president in June of 2009 to replace Phil Sorgen, who had been promoted to lead Microsoft’s small and mid-market solutions and partners division for the U.S. from Seattle after nearly four years leading the Canadian subsidiary. Gales had previously led the SM&P group in Canada.

Gales was a fixture on CDN‘s Top 25 Newsmaker list during his tenure leading the subsidiary, rising to No. 2 in 2010 for his role bringing Microsoft’s Software+Services cloud business to Canada, as well as Microsoft Office 2010 and Windows Phone 7. He was No. 3 in 2009 and No. 6 in 2011. He has been campaigning to bring Microsoft’s retail store model to Canada to showcase Microsoft and partner solutions, and also played a key role in bringing the Worldwide Partner Conference to Toronto this July.

He was also a visible leader and advocate for Microsoft and the technology community in Canada, serving as a vice-chair of the Information Technology Association of Canada.

Following the transition period with Long, Gales will then take the summer off approximately two months to decide his next career move. According to Pasquini, Gales has an option to stay with Microsoft in another role or pursue other interests. Pasquini added that Gales waited to make this announcement by this fiscal end and that the subsidiary is in a healthy position.

Long is an 11-year veteran of Microsoft, holding a number of sales, marketing and channel roles. Before joining Microsoft, he spent 10 years at IBM Corp.

Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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