Microsoft loses key members of MSN, Office teams

Hadi Partovi, GM of MSN and Don Gagne, Office director of development, are leaving the company

Microsoft Corp. is losing key members of its MSN and Office teams, the company confirmed late Tuesday.

Hadi Partovi, general manager of the MSN portal, and Don Gagne, director of development for Office, have both resigned from the company, spokeswomen from Microsoft's public relations agency Waggener Edstrom Inc. said. Both are leaving the company on good terms, they said.

The news of the departures first surfaced Monday. Partovi's departure was first reported in the Seattle Times, while a popular Microsoft Web log, Mini-Microsoft, noted Gagne's departure.

Partovi, who was instrumental in developing an MSN incubation project called Start.com, which offers a stripped-down search page rather than the current content-heavy MSN.com start page, is leaving to pursue other interests and likely will start his own company, according to Colleen Lacter, who heads up the MSN team at Waggener Edstrom.

Partovi has left Microsoft once before due to entrepreneurial interests. He departed the Redmond, Washington, company in 1999 and founded Tellme Networks Inc., a telecommunications company, before rejoining Microsoft in 2002.

Gagne, is departing Microsoft in December after 11 years to take a break from software development and pursue his hobby of racing cars full time, Lisa Koetz, an Office spokeswoman with Waggener Edstrom, said in an e-mail. He also will investigate business opportunities in car racing, she said.

During his time at Microsoft, Gagne helped lead the Office Outlook development team through its first releases, and helped create the Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003 release.

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