MS moves sales chief to Business Solutions unit

MS moves sales chief to Business Solutions unit

Microsoft's top sales and marketing executive, Orlando Ayala, will leave that position to help lead the company's push to sell more software to small and medium-sized businesses.

Ayala joined Microsoft in 1991 and most recently served as group vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. In his new position Ayala will work closely with Microsoft Business Solutions' president Doug Burgum to lift sales at the Microsoft unit that sells business applications, a Microsoft spokesman said.

As vice president of small and mid-market solutions and partners, Ayayala will be responsible for heading up heading a sales and marketing group. His organisation will operate on a global scale and should be fully in place from July 1, Anne Bove-Nielsen, a European spokeswoman for Microsoft Business Solutions, said.

The move is not a demotion for Ayala, but an opportunity to "lead one of the most incredible opportunities for Microsoft," the spokesman said. In his new role, Ayala will report to Microsoft Group vice president Jeff Raikes. A replacement for Ayala will be named in the coming weeks, he said.

Ayala will remain a member of Microsoft's Business Leadership Team, a group that shares responsibility with Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive officer, for broad strategic and business planning for the entire company, Bove-Nielsen said.

Microsoft is making a total investment of more than US$2 billion in product development and partner readiness and sales resources for Business Solutions, which targets companies with up to 1000 employees.

Microsoft Business Solutions makes software to help small and medium-sized businesses manage supply chains, finances and customer relationships. Microsoft entered the business application market when it bought Great Plains Software in late 2000 and expanded that with the takeover of Danish software developer Navision last year. Chief competitors include SAP, Oracle and Siebel Systems.

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