Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Exclusive: Microsoft Strategy Exec Hank Vigil to Depart, Will Remain Advisor

Microsoft’s SVP of Strategy and Partnership Hank Vigil will be leaving the software giant to focus on investing in and advising for early-stage start-up companies, according to an internal email from CEO Steve Ballmer.

But the 25-year company veteran, who will departs Microsoft in the fall, will also become a “strategic advisor” to Microsoft.
That’s probably a good idea, since Vigil is one of the company’s most visible and well-liked execs in the tech community, especially in Silicon Valley.

He also is Microsoft’s best-dressed exec, if I might be so bold to say.

Vigil has had wide-ranging jobs all over Microsoft in his many years there.

He has most recently been working directly with Ballmer, according to his company bio, “developing and managing strategic relationships, mergers, acquisitions and investment partnerships with media, consumer electronics, telecommunications, software and Internet companies.”

In that role, Vigil has worked on a range of deals, including with Facebook, Nokia, News Corp. and many others.

Previously, he worked on Microsoft’s digital TV strategy, including the acquisition of WebTV. Vigil also did marketing and business strategy for Office, Word and Excel.

In other words, Vigil knows where all the bodies are buried up at Microsoft’s Redmond HQ! And, presumably, he’ll be keeping that to himself.

Here’s the internal email from Ballmer about Vigil’s departure:

After 25 years at Microsoft, Hank Vigil has decided it’s time to open a new chapter in his life.

Hank has covered a lot of ground, from launching Excel 3 and Office 95, to our early investments in ITV, to helping restructure our relationships with Sun, Time Warner, and Real Networks, to his more recent work helping to drive new investments and partnerships with companies like Yahoo!, Facebook, and Nokia. He’s been a critical strategic advisor and bridge-builder on some of the biggest industry opportunities we’ve dealt with in recent years.

He’ll be staying on until the fall, then he intends to do some early stage investing and advising start-up companies.

While Hank is leaving the company, he’s not going too far. I’m pleased to say that Hank will continue to provide his industry insight and strategic counsel going forward as an advisor to the company.

Please join me in congratulating Hank on a quarter-century of great work, and wishing him the best of luck in his new adventure.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus