Microsoft has ended its search for a new leader for its Microsoft Business Solutions unit, naming insider Satya Nadella to succeed senior vice president Doug Burgum as head of the division that oversees Microsoft Dynamics and small business products.Burgum will stay on during a transition period of about nine months.
Nadella, the oft-mentioned favorite to succeed Burgum, joined Microsoft in 1992. Before being named to the new post, he led the Microsoft Dynamics development team and had responsibility for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics AX, Dynamics SL and Microsoft Office small business products.
Burgum came aboard Microsoft following its December 2000 acquisition of Fargo, N.D.-based Great Plains Software. He had joined Great Plains in 1983 - at that time, a 15-person concern - and in 1997 took the company public, eventually growing the business to roughly 2,000 employees and $200 million in revenues.
After acquiring Great Plains and, later, Denmark-based software manufacturer Navision, Microsoft formed MBS and unveiled an ambitious plan to grow its new arm into a $10 billion division - with the small-and-midsized market as its target.
However, competition in the crowded SMB market slowed growth and resulted in unimpressive financials. The unit posted its first-ever operating profit for the second quarter, but then reported a $13 million operating loss for the third quarter ended March 31 - down from a $39 million loss for the same period of one year ago. Microsoft's year-end numbers are due to be released in October.
In 2005, the Business Division launched Small Business Accounting as a shot across the bow of Intuit's QuickBooks franchise. However, it has been slow to gain traction. In mid-September, SBA was rechristened Microsoft Office Accounting 2007.
Last year, Microsoft reorganized itself into three operating groups (down from seven), and tapped company veteran Jeff Raikes to lead the Business Division, which meshed MBS with its Information Worker Unit. Burgum retained his post at MBS and reported to Raikes. And several months ago, MBS chief operating officer Orlando Ayala was given a new title and assignment, being named senior vice president for the company's Emerging Segments Market Development Group, with the goal of developing markets in urban areas and third-world countries.
As recently as last year, Burgum was slated to assume the title of MBS chairman once a new leader for the division was selected.
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