US-Cypriot innovator Panos Panay leaves Microsoft

Panos Panay, Microsoft's chief product officer and the person responsible for the development of the Surface and Windows 11, has left the company after 19 years.

Microsoft announced US-Cypriot Panay's departure on 18 September via email. "Thank you, Panos, for your impact on our products, culture, company, and industry over the past two decades. I'm grateful for your leadership, support, and all you've done for Microsoft and our customers and partners," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in an emailed statement.

Panay also tweeted about his decision to leave the company. "After 19 incredible years at Microsoft, I've decided to turn the page and write the next chapter," he said. "I'm forever grateful for my time at Microsoft and the amazing people I had the honor to make products with."

Although Panay has yet to indicate where he will be working next, Bloomberg has reported that the former Microsoft executive will head to Amazon to run its division working on Alexa and Echo products. Amazon didn't respond to a request for comment, according to a report by US-based media outlet CNET.

As reported by Variety, however, Panay is set to replace Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices & Services, who announced last month that he was retiring as head of hardware by the end of 2023.

According to CNET, Panay began work on the Surface in 2008. The idea at the time was for Microsoft to have its own touch-based hardware to coincide with the release of Windows 8, which made use of touch-based controls. Since its initial launch in 2012, Panay has been the face of the Surface, regularly presenting the newest iterations at Microsoft events.

As reported by CNET, Yusuf Medhi, corporate vice president and consumer chief marketing officer, will be taking over Panay's duties on the Windows team.

CNET also noted that Panay's departure comes days before Microsoft's 21 September event, where the company will showcase new products and its latest innovations in artificial intelligence.

Among many other accolades throughout his career, Panay was recognised during the 6th CIPA International Investment Awards hosted by GOLD Magazine in 2017. The Awards are now known as the Invest Cyprus International Investment Awards in line with Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency’s rebranding.

Panay holds a bachelor of science degree from California State University, Northridge, and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

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