Windows and Surface chief Panos Panay is leaving Microsoft
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Windows and Surface chief Panos Panay is leaving Microsoft

Microsoft’s consumer marketing head, Yusuf Mehdi, will take over leading the Windows and Surface businesses.

In a surprising twist of events, Panos Panay, the visionary behind Microsoft’s Windows development and the iconic Surface line, has bid adieu to the tech giant. In an internal email sent by Rajesh Jha, Microsoft’s vice president of experience and devices, the news broke with a touch of nostalgia, stating, “After nearly two decades of dedicated service, Panos Panay has made the decision to embark on a new journey beyond Microsoft.”

chief Panos Panay leaving Microsoft

What makes this departure particularly intriguing is its timing. Just a month ago, Panay was buzzing with excitement about his appearance at Microsoft’s upcoming special event scheduled for Thursday, September 21st. The event, eagerly anticipated by tech enthusiasts, promised to unveil the latest innovations in the Surface lineup and tantalizing “AI innovation.” However, in a surprising twist, a Microsoft spokesperson, Frank Shaw, confirmed to The Verge that Panay would be conspicuously absent from this week’s highly anticipated gathering.

As a result of Panay’s departure, the tech world now faces a plethora of questions about Microsoft’s hardware and software endeavors. The abruptness of this exit has left many pondering what lies ahead for both Panay and the company he helped shape for nearly two decades.

Panos Panay‘s journey within Microsoft has been nothing short of remarkable. Joining the company’s ranks in 2004 as a group program manager, he steadily ascended the corporate ladder to become the driving force behind Microsoft’s Surface line and other pivotal products. He assumed the role of chief product officer in 2018, spearheading the development of Windows 11. This ascent continued in 2021 when Panay was promoted to executive vice president, earning a spot on the elite leadership team directly advising Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

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In a heartfelt post on X (formerly Twitter), Panay announced his decision to “turn the page and write the next chapter” in his professional journey. Thanks to the incredible individuals he had the privilege of working with at Microsoft, he expressed profound gratitude for his time there. A key ambassador for Microsoft, Panay is known for his infectious enthusiasm for innovation and new technologies.

Stepping into Panay’s formidable shoes is Yusuf Mehdi, the head of consumer marketing at Microsoft. He will now work closely with the company’s OEM and Retail partners to lead the Windows and Surface businesses. It comes at a perfect time for Microsoft, as it intensifies its efforts to add AI features to Windows 11 as the impending launch of Windows 12 looms.

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In a statement, CEO Satya Nadella expressed his deep appreciation for Panos Panay’s profound impact on Microsoft’s products, culture, and the industry as a whole over the past two decades. Nadella conveyed his gratitude for Panay’s exceptional leadership, support, and contributions to Microsoft, its customers, and partners. As Rajesh Jha noted, Microsoft remains steadfast in its strategic direction, and Yusuf Mehdi will be at the helm of the Windows and Surface businesses, championing their products and initiatives on the global stage.

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You can read the full email to employees below:


After nearly 20 years at the company, Panos Panay has decided to leave Microsoft. Panos has had an incredible impact on our products and culture as well as the broader devices ecosystem. Under Panos’ leadership, the team created the iconic Surface brand with loved products. More recently, as the leader of Windows, the team has brought amazing services and experiences to hundreds of millions with Windows 11 on innovative devices including those from our OEM partners. He will be missed, and I am personally very grateful for his many contributions over the years. Please join me in wishing him well. 

Moving forward, we will double down on our strategy. These changes will be effective immediately with Panos’ help in the transition.  

Build silicon, systems and devices that span Windows, client and cloud for an AI world. This team will be led by Pavan Davuluri, who will report directly to me. Brett Ostrum, Nino Storniolo, Linda Averett, Ken Pan, Ralf Groene, Aidan Marcuss, Carlos Picoto, Stevie Bathiche, Robin Seiler, Ruben Caballero and Anuj Gosalia will move to report to Pavan with their teams intact. Windows planning and release management will continue to be in this team. Our commitment to Surface and MR remains unchanged. 

Build experiences that blend web, services and Windows for an AI world. To this end, Shilpa Ranganathan, Jeff Johnson and Ali Akgun will directly report to Mikhail Parakhin and form a new Windows and Web Experiences Team, moving with their teams intact.  

Yusuf Mehdi will take on the responsibility of leading the Windows and Surface businesses with our OEM and Retail partners.  

In addition, Charles Simonyi, Terri Chudzik and Erin Kolb will join the E+D management teams and Ralf Groene and Mike Davidson will work together on the best alignment on design teams.  

We will set up time for an AMA in the coming days to answer questions. Let’s continue to stay focused on executing on our existing plans. Thank you for all that you do, and the impact that you have for our customers and partners.  



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