Microsoft Corp. said Andy Lees was named head of corporate development and strategy, part of a push by Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer to step up growth and fend off competitors led by Apple Inc.
Lees, who assumed the new job last month, reports to Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein and handles a role that’s been vacant since Hank Vigil left the company in 2011. Since being replaced as president of the Windows Phone division last year, Lees has overseen Microsoft’s investment in a Barnes & Noble Inc. subsidiary.
Ballmer moved Lees out of Windows Phone in December after the product failed to gain mobile market share following a complete overhaul. Though Lees was allowed to retain his president title, he was given a vague job description that Ballmer called “working for me on a time-critical opportunity focused on driving maximum impact in 2012 with Windows Phone and Windows 8.”
Lees wound up leading a deal with Barnes & Noble that had Microsoft investing $300 million in a new subsidiary that combines the bookseller’s Nook digital reader and college businesses in order to bolster Microsoft’s access to book content it can offer on new Windows tablet devices.
The job change was announced by Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft in an e-mailed statement today.