Microsoft has given longtime executive Brad Smith the title of president, as the company continues its transition to a new generation of leadership.
Smith’s full title will be president and chief legal officer. He has been Microsoft’s general counsel since 2002 and became an executive vice president in 2011.
CEO Satya Nadella announced the appointment in an email Friday to employees. Nadella said he wants Smith to play a bigger role in strengthening Microsoft’s relationships and representing the company publicly. Smith will help lead the company on issues like privacy, security and accessibility, he said.
Smith, 56, joined Microsoft in 1993 and has held several other titles, including company secretary.
Smith is a familiar face for investors because he has been a regular presence on the company’s investor conference calls for almost a decade, said industry analyst Katherine Egbert of Piper Jaffray.
“It is interesting that they would put him as president of the company because he doesn’t come from the operational side,” she said. “I think it’s a promotion of someone who’s been a solid executive for them for a long time.”
Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft Corp. in February 2014, and co-founder Bill Gates stepped down as chairman at the same time. Ballmer retired from Microsoft a few months later. Gates remains an adviser to the company and John Thompson is now the independent chairman of Microsoft.