Kevin Turner's departure marks the end of Microsoft's old guard

Three years after being passed over for the CEO position, COO Turner is moving to hedge fund Citadel

Kevin Turner's departure marks the end of Microsoft's old guard

Outside Building 99 in Microsoft's Redmond, Washington, campus.

Credit: Microsoft

Kevin Turner's 11-year stint as Microsoft's chief operating officer is about to come to an end. His departure will leave an odd void: Microsoft didn't have a COO prior to Turner's arrival in 2005 (the former COO left in 2002), and it appears the position won't be filled again after he leaves at the end of the month.

Turner's name was mentioned frequently back in 2013 during the fray to find a replacement for departing CEO Steve Ballmer. In fact, a Bloomberg report in November 2013 listed Turner as one of three golden-haired candidates:

Microsoft Corp.'s board placed Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner on a three-person list of internal candidates to replace departing Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, said a person with knowledge of the process. The other two internal candidates are business development and evangelism chief Tony Bates and Satya Nadella, who oversees the company's cloud and enterprise business, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the search is confidential.

Tony Bates, who joined Microsoft as part of the Skype acquisition, left Microsoft shortly after Nadella was crowned the victor.

During Ballmer's heyday, prior to the release of Windows 8, his inner circle consisted of Kurt DelBene (head of Office, who left in July 2013 after a re-org), Peter Klein (CFO, who resigned in May 2013), Amy Hood (who's the current CFO), Nadella, and Turner.

With the exception of Hood and Nadella, Turner's departure marks a clean sweep of Ballmer's old guard.

CEO Nadella released a statement about the transition, saying that Judson Althoff, a recent Microsoft hire, will take over Turner's Commercial Business activities including, most notably, keynote duties at the Worldwide Partner Conference that starts on Monday. Turner led the WPC charge for years, and the timing of the announcement of his imminent departure may have been spurred by WPC headlining duties. 

The obligatory press release details Turner's new job:

Citadel, a global financial firm, today announced the appointment of B. Kevin Turner as Chief Executive Officer of Citadel Securities and Vice Chairman of Citadel. Turner, who spent 11 years as Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft, will join Citadel Securities after a short transition period from Microsoft.

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