Panos Panay, Godfather of the Surface, Leaves Microsoft

Panos Panay, Godfather of the Surface, Leaves Microsoft

Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer and the person responsible for development of the Surface and Windows 11, has left the company after 19 years. 

Microsoft announced Panay’s departure on Monday via email. Previously, he was the head of the company’s Windows and Devices team. 

“Thank you, Panos, for your impact on our products, culture, company, and industry over the past two decades. I’m grateful for your leadership, support, and all you’ve done for Microsoft and our customers and partners,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in an emailed statement. 

Panay tweeted Monday about his decision to leave the company. 

“After 19 incredible years at Microsoft, I’ve decided to turn the page and write the next chapter,” he said. “I’m forever grateful for my time at Microsoft and the amazing people I had the honor to make products with.” 

Although Panay has yet to indicate where he will be working next, Bloomberg reported Monday that the former Microsoft executive will head to Amazon to run the division working on Alexa and Echo products. 

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Panay began work on the Surface in 2008. The idea at the time was for Microsoft to have its own touch-based hardware to coincide with the release of Windows 8, which made use of touch-based controls. Since its initial launch in 2012, Panay has been the face of the Surface, regularly presenting the newest iterations at Microsoft events. 

Taking over Panay’s duties on the Windows team is Yusuf Medhi, corporate vice president and consumer chief marketing officer. 

Panay’s departure comes days before Microsoft’s Sept. 21 event, where the company will showcase new products and its latest innovations in artificial intelligence. 


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