For the second time, a woman will lead Microsoft Canada, with the appointment Tuesday of Janet Kennedy to replace Max Long as president of the software giant’s Canadian subsidiary.

Those in the channel community that were hoping to see a Canadian succeed Long and perhaps offer some stability to a subsidiary that has seen a lot of upheaval in its executive ranks in recent years are out of luck; Kennedy is from the United States. She has a degree in industrial management and industrial engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the McCool School of Business, Queens University in Charlotte, NC.

Janet Kennedy
Janet Kennedy

Before joining Microsoft in 2002, Kennedy spent nine years at IBM in the vendor’s distribution business. She has held a number of leadership positions with Microsoft, including most recently as regional vice-president of the enterprise and partner group (EP&G) in the U.S. Central Region, based in Illinois.

In a statement, Microsoft credited her with growing that business by more than $1 billion and gaining early adopters for Microsoft’s cloud strategy and Office 365.

A Microsoft Canada spokesperson said Long is leaving the post of president of Microsoft Canada on Sept. 30.

“Microsoft is in a position of great strength in Canada, and that strength is only reinforced by today’s appointment” said Judson Althoff, president of Microsoft North America, in a statement. “Janet is a forward thinker who is uniquely equipped to meld a consumer and enterprise approach to business. I know we can continue to expect great things from Canada under Janet’s leadership.

Microsoft said the transition from Long to Kennedy will begin immediately, and her move from Chicago to Canada will “happen quickly” as relocation details are finalized.

“Microsoft has a clear mission to help people and businesses realize their full potential and I couldn’t be prouder to be joining the team helping Microsoft achieve its full potential here in Canada,” said Kennedy, in a statement. “The foundations that have been built by my predecessors are incredibly strong, and I’m honoured to be making Canada – and Microsoft Canada – my new home.”

Kennedy is the third subsidiary president for Microsoft Canada in less than two years. Following the departure of Eric Gales, who now leads VMware’s Canadian business, Long was appointed to the position in April of 2012. Computer Dealer News, ITWC’s sister publication, revealed in August that, for family reasons, he was taking another position with Microsoft in the Seattle area.

The changes at Microsoft Canada haven’t been confined to the president’s suite. Canadian channel chief Greg Lardner left the company in September as part of what Microsoft called an organizational change. Filling his role will be one early task for Kennedy. Lardner’s departure came on the same day Dennis Cerasoli arrived at the Canadian operation as the new vice-president of SMS&P. Cerasoli, who like Kennedy worked in Microsoft’s Central US Region in Illinois, replaced Mark Dodds, who had left the company in April, after having replaced Neil Tanner.

Patti Stonecipher was the first female president of Microsoft Canada in the 1990s. She would go on to hold more senior positions with Microsoft, and later run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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