Joe Belfiore, who has been the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Office Group for the past two years and with the company in various roles for 32 years, has announced his retirement. Belfiore and Microsoft management announced his departure on October 27 via internal e-mails.
Word (pun intended) is this was a personal decision, not a forced one. And that Belfiore’s departure won’t result in any change of priorities within Office. Belfiore will be handing off his direct reports immediately but stay on until next summer as a senior advisor and coach to help with the transition.
Belfiore tweeted about his planned retirement late today.
From Belfiore’s email to the troops from today — a copy of which I saw and verified with Microsoft was real:
“After a lot of personal reflection, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to draw my very-long career at Microsoft to its end after 32 years of amazing experiences building software and services with all of you.”
He added: “This summer I went through the experience of sending my oldest off to college, which crystallized my realization around the limited time that remains for me to prioritize kids and family before the last of our crew moves out of the house.”
Belfiore got his start at Microsoft in 1990 as part of the Windows 95 team. He also worked on the Internet Explorer, Windows XP, Microsoft eHome division, Entertainment & Devices, Windows Phone, and Windows 10 teams in management roles over the years, according to Belfiore’s LinkedIn profile. In 2015, he announced he was taking a one-year leave of absence to spend more time with his family. (Unlike many Microsoft “spend more time with the family” scenarios, Belfiore actually did return to the company after his sabbatical.)
In 2020, Belfiore took another leave of absence to travel with his family. After that, he returned to Microsoft to work on the Office Experience Group (OXO) on cross-platform experiences and services. He led that team along with Corporate Vice President Ales Holecek. His team is responsible for work in apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, plus shared components and new additions to the core Office family such as Loop (the app and the components), Designer, To-Do, Planner, Project, Forms, Stream, Whiteboard and more, according to Belfiore’s bio.
Holecek will remain as Corporate Vice President of the Office Product Group, according to internal emails. Corporate Vice President Sumit Chauhan — who has been focused as of late on authoring and storytelling capabilities in Office powered by AI services — will be partnering with Holecek as the new co-leader of the group and will report directly to Executive Vice President of Experiences & Devices Rajesh Jha. Current Vice President of Product David Gainer will be promoted to Corporate Vice President and become Office “Head of Product,” reporting to Holecek.