Amazon hires former Microsoft product chief to oversee devices unit

on Sep27
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Panos Panay, former chief product officer of Microsoft Corp., displays the new Surface Laptop 3 computer during a Microsoft product event in New York on Oct. 2, 2019.

Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Former Microsoft product chief Panos Panay will join Amazon later this year to oversee its devices and services unit, the company said Wednesday.

Panay will replace longtime Amazon devices head Dave Limp, who announced last month he’d step down from his role in the coming months after more than 13 years at the company. Panay will start at Amazon at the end of October, and Limp will stay on to assist with the transition. Panay will report directly to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and will join Jassy’s S-team, a tight-knit group of senior executives across many areas of the company’s businesses.

“As a strong product builder and inventor who has deep experience in both hardware and integrated services, Panos will be a great addition to our D&S organization moving forward,” Jassy wrote in a memo to employees.

Limp wrote in a separate memo that he has “known Panos for years,” adding that “he will be a great addition to this organization moving forward.”

Panay oversaw the company’s profitable Windows operating-system business, as well as the Surface line of devices, most of which were Windows PCs. Earlier this month, Microsoft said Panay would leave the company after more than 20 years.

Panay is joining Amazon at a precarious moment for its devices and services division. As part of Jassy’s wider effort to rein in costs, he has axed several of the company’s more unproven bets, including a video-calling device for kids and a roving sidewalk robot. The unit was hit with layoffs as part of the largest job cuts in Amazon’s history, which resulted in more than 27,000 employees being let go.

Morale has suffered within the hardware division amid the layoffs and a perceived lack of major product developments, Reuters reported, citing interviews with current and former employees.

— CNBC’s Jordan Novet contributed to this article.

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