What’s going on with Microsoft’s (MSFT) executive team in China?
Dow Jones is reporting there’s a new CEO for Microsoft’s Greater China division, former Motorola (MOT) exec Simon Leung. Zhang Ya-Qin, the previous boss, becomes a Microsoft VP and chairman of the company’s China research and development group.
A demotion for Zhang? We’re not sure, because word of Zhang’s new role comes on the same day Microsoft announced it would be investing one billion dollars over the next three years into Chinese R&D — which is Zhang’s new group.
Who reports to whom? We put a call into Microsoft and will update when we hear more. But the irony of Microsoft putting so much money into China is rich — just a few days CEO Steve Ballmer said “China’s not really very important to our business right now,” citing rampant software piracy in the country. (The difference, of course, is revenue vs. cheap, skilled labour.)
UPDATE: A Microsoft spokesman tells us Simon, the new hire, is in charge. But Ya-Qin will report to Microsoft SVP for Research Rick Rashid, not to Simon.
Microsoft’s statement as follows:
Simon Leung will be the Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Greater China Region and Microsoft China. He will work very closely with Ya-Qin Zhang, Vice-Chairman Microsoft Greater China Region.
[Praise for Ya-Qin redacted].. Ya-Qin will work closely with Simon to lead Microsoft’s overall strategy in the Greater China Region. He will also play a critical role in mapping out the company’s R&D agenda and guiding the China Research and Development Group’s continued growth. Ya-Qin will continue to report directly to Rick Rashid in Microsoft Research.
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