CRN: Tong Gone From Microsoft

_The web is amazing, but not great for long term clipping. So saving for posterity some old articles about me for the kids to read someday_

“Tong Gone From Microsoft”:http://www.crn.com/sections/BreakingNews/dailyarchives.asp?ArticleID=13457
Veteran Executive Takes Leave
By Barbara Darrow, Computer Reseller News
Redmond
3:59 PM EST Tues., Feb. 01, 2000

Rich Tong, a longtime Microsoft Corp. executive who worked on products ranging from the early Excel to the most recent BackOffice suite is leaving the company.

Tong served in a variety of capacities from Excel product manager to, most recently, vice president of marketing for the Business Productivity Application group. He has been very involved in BackOffice.

He was a well-respected member of the executive team, although he had taken a lower profile of late, said sources inside the company.

A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed Tong’s departure, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and look into other opportunities.

“He is a very multitasking kind of guy. Perfect for Microsoft. Rarely would you get his full attention, but he always got the message. A lot of cycles, drive and energy,” said one former Microsoft executive.

Tong’s last day will be Tuesday, the spokeswoman said.

Some worried about a brain-drain at the company coming at a crucial time,just before the launch of Windows 2000, the biggest product of its history. “This is a big year for BackOffice so this doesn’t look good,” said Rick Sherlund, partner at Goldman Sachs & Co., New York.

Indeed, Microsoft is revamping the suite of server applications, including SQL Server, Exchange Server and Internet Information Server, to take advantage of Windows 2000.

“At some point, you’ve got to wonder how deep their bench is,” said Steve Kleynhans, vice president of The Meta Group, Stamford, Conn. “They’ve lost a lot of experienced people, not all of whom are household names,” he noted.

Tong’s duties will be assumed by Liz King, another Microsoft veteran, said sources inside the company.

Microsoft has seen its share of departures in the past few years, and executives with stock options that vest can depart as millionaires or even billionaires. Tong, who joined the company in 1988 after a stint as software engineer at LSI Logic Corp., would almost certainly fall in that camp, even though Microsoft shares are now trading just north of $101.

Tong could not be reached for comment.- CRN