Goodbye Mr Lawrie - for now

Departing Microsoft New Zealand managing director Geoff Lawrie may end up working for Microsoft US.

Departing Microsoft New Zealand managing director Geoff Lawrie may end up working for Microsoft US.

After six years in the job, Lawrie says he will first take three months off mixing time with his family and reading and pondering where the IT industry is heading.

The plan is to return to Microsoft in a consulting role. Lawrie thinks it may involve some international responsibilities, possibly working for the company’s head office in Redmond, Washington. Whatever he does, he says, he wants to do it principally from New Zealand.

Lawrie believes it was personally time for a change and for the New Zealand subsidiary to have someone else in charge. Marketing manager Ross Peat takes over as managing director on April 2.

Lawrie’s legacy is to have tripled Microsoft NZ’s employee numbers over five years. Whether it led to a corresponding lift in profits is unknown. His media representatives will only say the unit had the “most consistent stable growth in the region”.

Lawrie says the job wasn’t without its challenges. “It’s a pretty competitive industry despite what people thing about Microsoft living alone at the top of the tree. It’s also cyclical, so it hasn’t all been a party.”

The Department of Justice case against Microsoft has taken a toll. “Even though you believe in the long term that you will be vindicated, it’s not enjoyable to have your integrity and business ethics challenged by competitors.”

Lawrie says he enjoyed the fact that local subsidiaries were empowered to get on with the job.

“It’s one of the few multinational companies I know of where, if you have a really good idea and say ‘I want to execute’, you get a decision on the spot. But you also find you have the responsibility to make it work.”

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