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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Microsoft Names First Female Finance Chief

Microsoft named Amy Hood, an executive at the company, as its chief financial officer, the first woman to hold the top finance job at Microsoft.

Ms. Hood, 41, joined Microsoft in late 2002 and was most recently the chief financial officer of Microsoft’s business division, the unit that oversees its lucrative Office suite of applications. She replaces Peter Klein, Microsoft’s chief financial officer who announced recently that he was resigning to spend more time with his family.

A number of women have risen to Microsoft’s top ranks, but like most technology companies, its senior leadership is still dominated by men. One exception is Lisa Brummel, who, as chief people officer, runs the company’s human resources department. Late last year, Microsoft appointed two women, Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller, to run the engineering and finance operations of the company’s Windows division, one of its most important units.

As chief financial officer, Ms. Hood will play a bigger role in helping Microsoft adapt to major changes in its business, most notably the shift to mobile devices from PCs and the transformation of traditional software into cloud services. In a sign of these changes, for the last six months, Steve Ballmer, the chief executive officer, has begun talking about Microsoft as a devices and services company.

Ms. Hood will also serve as Microsoft’s ambassador to Wall Street, which has for years looked skeptically at the company’s efforts to enter new businesses like Internet search. After a recent solid earnings report from Microsoft, investors have become more bullish on the company’s prospects. Its shares now trade near their 52-week high.

In an e-mail to Microsoft employees on Wednesday, Mr. Ballmer said Ms. Hood had helped lead the change of Microsoft Office into a cloud service. He said that he worked closely with her on two big acquisitions, that of Skype and Yammer, and that her critical thinking would be an important skill in her new job.

“Amy is a great collaborator with a history of successful cross-group projects, and I am looking forward to having her as a member of my leadership team,” Mr. Ballmer wrote.