Windows and Surface leader Panos Panay is leaving Microsoft after almost 20 years

Microsoft has announced that the head of its Windows and Devices group is stepping down from the company.

Microsoft has announced that Panos Panay, the head of the company’s Windows and Devices division, is leaving, after nearly 20 years at Microsoft. He will be replaced by Pavan Davuluri and others who will work in different roles. Panos was responsible for the design and development of the Surface brand before taking over Windows itself.

In an email, Microsoft’s Rajesh Jha announced that the executive behind the Surface model is leaving the company. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, commented on the departure, saying:

“Thank you, Panos, for your impact on our society, culture, industry, and industry over the past two decades. I am grateful for your leadership, support, and everything you have done for Microsoft and our customers and partners. As Rajesh said, we will remain focused and proactive in our approach and Yusuf Mehdi will lead our Windows and Surface businesses and external products.

If you care about Microsoft at all, you’ve probably heard of Panos Panay before. As mentioned above, Panay was the mastermind behind the Surface brand, as well as in front of it. Almost every Surface announcement came with an emotional statement from the Surface leader showing how Microsoft’s devices could impact people’s lives, and how he encouraged people to try them. Some of the announcements were also big surprises that were delivered in the best possible way, as we highlighted when going through the history of Surface devices last year. The Surface Book reveal in particular, or the Surface Duo, was one of the biggest in Microsoft’s history.

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That interest eventually led to Panos Panay becoming a senior a few years ago, when he became head of Microsoft’s PC hardware, as well as software, when he took over the Windows and Devices Group within the company. Panay brought the same excitement to Windows, and played a major role in promoting Windows 11 features and software, including through several tweets on Twitter (now X).

As for what’s to come, Microsoft has announced that many of Panos’ roles will be taken on by different people. Pavan Davuluri, Vice President of Windows Silicon and Systems Integration, will continue to oversee the development of events on Windows, client, and cloud devices, with many teams moving under his wing while he remains. Microsoft is also creating a new Windows and Web Experiences Group, with members such as Shilpa Ranganathan and Jeff Johnson reporting to Mikhail Parakhin. Finally, Yusuf Mehdi will take over the responsibility of managing the Windows and Surface businesses with OEM and reseller partners.

Microsoft says it will continue its commitment to Windows and Surface following organizational changes. However, it looks like we won’t be seeing Panos Panay at the Surface event this week, and that will be missed.

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