SEATTLE (Reuters) - Julie Larson-Green, one of Microsoft Corp’s most senior women executives and a leading force behind the latest design of Windows, is moving to a new job in charge of harmonizing the look and usability of Microsoft’s wide range of software.
Larson-Green, who oversaw the design of Windows 7 and its less popular successor Windows 8, was promoted to run Microsoft’s Devices and Studios group as part of former chief executive Steve Ballmer’s sweeping reorganization of the company last July.
However, when Microsoft agreed to buy Nokia’s handset unit only a few months later, Microsoft planned to put former Nokia boss Stephen Elop in charge of that group, with Larson-Green reporting to him.
Elop is still set to take over that group when the Nokia deal is completed, expected in the next few weeks, but with the move Larson-Green is no longer set to report to him.
“I’ll remain in (the) role leading the DnS (Devices and Studios) organization in the interim until the Nokia deal closes and Stephen Elop makes his transition to Microsoft,” said Larson-Green in an email to colleagues which was obtained by Reuters. The memo and job change were earlier reported by Seattle-area tech news site GeekWire.
The new job means Larson-Green, known for introducing the ‘ribbon’ bar to the Office suite of applications, returns to software-focused design after leading the Devices and Studios group which is centered on hardware such as the Xbox game console and Surface tablet.
Her official title will be Chief Experience Officer of the My Life & Work Team, which is part of Microsoft’s Applications and Services Group, led by Qi Lu.
Larson-Green will lead efforts to ensure Microsoft’s varied software has a harmonized interface across a range of devices, which has become a key function in the era of mobile computing, where a growing number of people use a wide variety of smartphones and tablets to work and play rather than a PC.
The move is the first significant executive change at Microsoft under new CEO Satya Nadella, who took over from Ballmer earlier this month.
Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Stephen Coates