My Personal Finance Journey

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John Connors Moves On

Contributed by mm | January 11, 2005 2:54 PM PST

One surprising news in the last hour: it is announced that Microsoft CFO John Conners decided to retire after 16 years in the company and five years at the helm of Microsoft finance organization. As part of the Microsoft finance team, I can testify the tremedous change he brought to the organization and the whole company in the last five years; the finance team is way more professionalized compared to where we were five years ago.

Even if you don't know the inside work we've done, like 7 P&Ls, Finance 2.0 and cost efficacy work, you probably already got enough information from PFBlog when I discussed the changes like stock awards, ESPP changes and the giant cash dividend payout.

As a tribute, let me share a paragraph from John's personal communication to all Microsoft finance employees:

"This month marks my 16th year at Microsoft. It also marks my fifth year as CFO. Now I dont know about you, but five years is a long time to be in one role, even by finance standards. This has given me a chance to reflect on what weve been able to accomplish together and where that might be taking me five, ten, fifteen years from now. If I think out that far, I dont see myself as CFO of Microsoft. I see one of you in that role, but not me. I look now to the role I can play in the Pacific Northwest helping to build new companies. I look to my church and the contribution I can make to my local community and finally, and most importantly, I look to my family and the role I can play supporting my wife and raising our four children. These represent for me the next set of peaks, the next set of challenges that will allow me to continue to grow as a professional and as a human being. We are each defined by the choices we make, and this was my time to make a choice."

Now, the outstanding question is: who will succeed John. While Steve Ballmer and John Conners' internal announcements left the door open for an external candidate, it will surprise me if next Microsoft CFO does not come from inside the company. An external candidate will be a sheer negation of John's excellent work on bringing up the entire finance organization's capability.

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