updated 11:05 pm EDT, Sun June 19, 2011
Skype drops execs just after Microsoft deal
Skype in the immediate aftermath of FTC approval of its deal with Microsoft has fired several executives. Don Albert, Doug Bewsher, Chris Dean, Anne Gillespie, David Gurlé, and Russ Shaw have all either left or had clear intentions to leave. Much of the focus has been on marketing and human resources executives like Albert, Bewsher, and Gillespie, but Shaw was the general manager of Skype's carrier deals and considered instrumental to getting Skype as a mainstay on smartphones.
Two senior officials brought on from Skype's buyout of Qik, Allyson Campa and Ramu Sunkara, have also been pushed out.
Skype's exact reasons for the cuts aren't clear. Some of it may relate to reducing overlap, where Microsoft's own marketing and HR teams would likely fill similar roles. However, involuntary exits would likely cut out any unused stock options and other time-based bonuses. A spokesperson for Skype didn't provide specific insights and characterized it as a typical restructuring.
"Skype, like any other pragmatic organization, constantly assesses its team structure to deliver its users the best products," the spokesperson said. "As part of a recent internal shift Skype has made some management changes."
Although Microsoft has made Skype a separate division within its organization and has promised continued support for its existing structure, the cuts are unlikely to assuage fears that Microsoft may reshape Skype in a way that hurts non-Windows platforms or Skype itself. Losing Shaw may be one of the deeper hits as Microsoft has historically had difficulty making strong deals with carriers. The Windows developer has also only occasionally had success folding in large acquisitions and is known for having torpedoed Danger by suppressing many of the assets that had given the Sidekick its reputation. [via Skype Journal]