Panos Panay quits Microsoft after nearly 20 years (Yusuf Mehdi will replace him)

The face of Surface and Windows, Panos Panay, is leaving Microsoft to write the next chapter of his life.

Panos Panay Surface and Windows 10 event (source: Microsoft)
Panos Panay Surface and Windows 10 event (source: Microsoft)
  • Panos Panay, the chief of Windows 11 and Surface devices, leaves Microsoft.
  • Yusuf Mehdi will take on Panos’s responsibilities.
  • Microsoft also announced some other organizational changes.
  • Update: Panos is joining Amazon to run the Alexa and Echo speakers division.

Panos Panay, the chief product officer at Microsoft, more commonly known as the marketing face for the development of Windows and the Surface division, is leaving the company. On Monday, September 18, 2023, Microsoft’s vice president of experience and devices, Rajesh Jha, told employees that Panos had decided to quit Microsoft after almost two decades.

Although on X (formerly Twitter), Panos says “he” has “decided to turn the page and write the next chapter,” this seems like a sudden decision since he recently revealed that he was going to appear in the next Surface hardware event scheduled for September 21, 2023, in New York City, where the company is expected to introduce new Surface devices and share more details on upcoming features for Windows 11, including new AI integrations.

Originally, Panos Panay made it to Microsoft in 2004 as one of the company’s group program managers, and he became the person in charge of supervising the Surface hardware division as well as other products. Fast forward to 2018, in addition to overseeing the Surface hardware division, he also became responsible for leading the development of Windows 11. Finally, in 2021, he became the company’s executive vice president.

It’s unclear the exact reasons for Panos leaving the company. However, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of modern life, search, and devices, Yusuf Mehdi, is the newly appointed person to replace Panos.

On X, Panos Panay posted: “After 19 incredible years at Microsoft, I’ve decided to turn the page and write the next chapter. I’m forever grateful for my time at Microsoft and the amazing people I had the honor to make products with.”

Also, in the email to employees, Rajesh Jha talks about the significant impact of Panos Panay on Microsoft’s products and culture and the broader devices ecosystem and how the company credits him with creating the Surface brand and bringing Windows 11 to hundreds of millions of people.

In addition, the email also offers details on Yusuf Mehdi taking Panos’s place in the company and other organizational changes. For example, Pavan Davuluri will lead the build of silicon, systems and devices that span Windows, client and cloud for an AI world.

Mikhail Parakhin will lead the new Windows and Web Experiences Team, and Microsoft is also assigning additional people to the E+D management teams and Ralf Groene and Mike Davidson for the best alignment on design teams.

Update September 18, 2023: According to a new report from Bloomberg, Panos Panay is leaving Microsoft to join Amazon, more specifically to oversee the division that makes the voice-activated Alexa assistant and Echo smart speakers. However, before joining Amazon, Panos will continue at Microsoft for another couple of weeks as part of the transition process.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and