Chief executive of Microsoft Corporation, Satya Nadella, has decided to bring back the former company executive Kurt DelBene to advise him on technology and business strategy in a sign that the CEO wishes to ensure that his firm doesn’t miss out on the coming technological revolutions and waves. After retiring from Microsoft two years ago, Kurt BelBene had taken up the responsibility of overseeing the efforts for fixing the Healthcare.gov website, but he is now coming back to the software giant and assuming the newly created role of executive vice president of corporate planning and strategy. He will report to the CEO directly and his responsibilities would include identifying new opportunities and future investments.
Mr. DelBene said that he was looking forward to making his return to Microsoft. In the 14 months that Mr. Nadella has been CEO of the company, he hasn’t made many changes to his executive suite, but the rehiring of Mr. DelBene is an indication that he is filling his trusted circle and he wants more eyes focused on some very important questions such as where and how Microsoft should make investments in emerging technologies. Adjustments were also made to two other job titles of senior executives whose responsibilities were overlapping with the ones given to Mr. DelBene.
The title of chief strategy officer was held by Mark Penn, but he has been renamed as the chief insight officer. The executive vice president of advanced strategy, Eric Rudder, also saw his title change to executive vice president of advanced technology and education. A spokesman of the company said that the changes in title reflected the work these executives have been doing for Microsoft. For instance, Mr. Penn has been managing the marketing strategy efforts and has also headed data-analysis projects. It is crucial for Microsoft to stay updated on technological advances because it was flat-footed on several shifts in the past decades including mobile computing and web search.
Mr. DelBene is not a stranger at Microsoft. His training made him an engineer and he served the company for more than 20 years. The last three years were spent as president of the division of Microsoft Office. His retirement had been announced by the then CEO Steve Ballmer as a corporate restructuring had been rolled out by the firm that had put a different executive in charge of Microsoft Office. A couple of weeks after restructuring, Mr. Ballmer had also announced that once a replacement was found, he would also retire.
At the end of 2013, he signed up as a temporary advisor for the US Health and Human Services secretary. The Healthcare.gov website that was prone to glitches was stabilized by Mr. DelBene. Last summer, he stopped going for day-to-day work. He took a position with Madrona Venture Group in September, a firm in Seattle that invests in technology startups. He helped the company invest in Iceberg, a computer security startup that had been initiated by two former security executives of Microsoft. He also offered advice to young companies selling tech services to companies.