Kurt DelBene, who led Microsoft’s Office business and oversaw the launch of Office 365 before leaving in 2013, has rejoined the company as the executive VP of corporate strategy and planning.
That’s a vague title, but Microsoft tells us he will oversee big-picture engineering initiatives across the entire company, helping to coordinate technology across different business groups.
CFO Amy Hood’s team will continue to oversee the company’s M&A strategy, while new hire Peggy Johnson, who joined Microsoft last fall from Qualcomm, will continue to oversee big partnerships.
While he was gone, DelBene did an unpaid stint with the Obama administration overseeing the revamp of Healthcare.gov. (His wife is Susan DelBene, a Democratic congresswoman from Washington state who was first elected in 2012.)
Last September, DelBene joined Seattle VC firm Madrona Partners where he served as an advisor to startups including Smartsheet, which makes a mobile project management application that looks like an Excel spreadsheet, and Shippable, which competes in the hot enterprise market for “container” technology, which lets developers move applications between different cloud providers and on-premises data centres more easily. Microsoft just announced its own homegrown container technology last week.
DelBene left the company in July 2013 as part of then-CEO Steve Ballmer’s last big reorganization of the company; Ballmer announced his own retirement a month later. His return is another example of how CEO Satya Nadella seems to be re-energizing the company — it’s almost unprecedented for former senior-level Microsoft execs to return to the company.