Earlier this month, Microsoft dropped a major HR bombshell when a small notice on its Web site announced the termination of its CIO, Stuart Scott, who’d only been in the position for a couple of years, but was the third CIO in four years.
Microsoft tersely cited as the reason “violation of company policy.” With so little to go on in this C-level axing, the blogosphere started slinging dirt fast, which surprised some: “What seems weird to me is how many people have come out suggesting that ‘we’ the public deserve to know the whole story, and I’m not sure that I agree with that,” wrote a poster on The Geek Channel. “What’s happened, especially if it’s of a personal nature, is between Microsoft and Scott—what gives ‘us’ the right to know anything more than (that) he’s left Microsoft under unfavourable circumstances?”
Over at The Daily Incite , Mike Rothman said that the firing could work as a strong finger-wagging reminder to Microsoft’s own employees. “It’s not clear what the violation was, but suffice to say, it probably was bad. It needs to be to warrant a public execution like that. A C-level public execution in Redmond. Yes, that sends a strong message about culture, about acceptable behavior and about Microsoft’s willingness to enforce the policies. I feel for the guy whose head is now mounted on the stick, but I suspect everyone at Microsoft got a pretty strong wake-up call,” he said.
Adena Schutzberg of All Points Blog thinks the sacking will have little real impact. “I’ve watched CTOs come and go, and seen high-profile leaders change teams. It’s my sense that only in the rarest of occasions (Steve Jobs?) (does) the addition or departure of one—albeit very smart—individual have much bearing in the long run, “she said. “Why then do we hold, in some cases, to the ‘great man/woman’ theory of technology companies? If a company has a ‘shining star,’ that individual can overshadow the depth of the team as a whole. Microsoft … (has) quite a number of smart people; they just have names of which you not yet heard.”