Windows and Surface Boss Panos Panay Joins Microsoft Senior Leadership Team

Panos Panay holding a Microsoft Surface Laptop 3.
(Image credit: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Panos Panay, Microsoft's Chief product officer and head of Windows and Surface now has the ear of CEO Satya Nadella. According to a report from Bloomberg on Wednesday evening, Panay has been promoted to executive vice president and is joining the company's senior leadership team, which counsels the CEO.

It's another big step up for Panay, who took over the Windows team in February 2020, uniting Microsoft's operating system and devices under one umbrella. Panay has been with the company for 17 years and worked on the original Microsoft Surface, as well as leading devices as recent as the Surface Duo.

Until recently, Microsoft had been moving away from Windows as a core business, focusing its efforts on Azure and the cloud. The Windows area of Microsoft's business hasn't had a seat on the senior leadership team since former boss Terry Myerson departed in 2018.

Rajesh Jha, who has previously been reported as executive vice president of experiences and devices, was already on the Senior Leadership Team, but he's often been more associated with Office, not Windows. It's unclear if this has had any affect on Jha's status.

As Windows 11 was announced and approaches launch, both Nadella and Panay have suggested that Windows is returning closer to the center of Microsoft's business model, especially as the PC has seen explosive growth during the pandemic.

Both Nadella and Panay have been accumulating influence within the industry. Earlier this year, Nadella became the first person to serve as both Microsoft's  CEO and chairman of the board since Bill Gates, while Panay joined audio company Sonos' board of directors in 2020.

Windows 11 is releasing later this year, giving Panay's team a chance to shine, and likely to push a fleet of new devices running Microsoft's latest operating system. It will further push many of Microsoft's visions, including a more open system that allows for distribution of certain Android apps and providing developers a way to bypass payment fees by using their own systems.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon