Microsoft Exec Jeff Raikes Retiring (MSFT)

Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s business division, will retire after a nine-month transition period, the company said today. Stephen Elop, former chief operating officer at network gear giant Juniper Networks (JNPR), is his replacement.

Elop will start at the end of the month and will oversee some of Raikes’ old divisions, including the “Information Worker” and Microsoft business solutions groups, and the “Unified Communications” project, which includes a business phone partnership with Nortel (NT). Bob Muglia, SVP of the server and tools business, will now report directly to MSFT chief Steve Ballmer.

Raikes’ departure is a smaller deal today than it would have been two years ago: As Bill Gates prepares to retire this year, the company has a clear succession plan in place, led by Ballmer, chief software architect Ray Ozzie, and chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie. (That is, unless Ozzie leaves, too, as he is often rumoured to do.) Release

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