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Originally published May 8, 2013 at 7:02 PM | Page modified May 9, 2013 at 4:54 PM

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Microsoft names Amy Hood as new chief financial officer

The experienced financial leader, who has helped guide two of the company’s biggest revenue-generating divisions, becomes the highest-ranking woman at Microsoft.

Seattle Times technology reporter

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Microsoft has chosen as its new chief financial officer an experienced financial leader who has helped guide two of the company’s biggest revenue-generating divisions.

Amy Hood, 41, most recently CFO of the Business division at Microsoft, was named CFO of the entire company Wednesday.

Hood is the first woman to hold the position and the appointment makes her the highest-ranking woman at Microsoft. Hood takes on the job immediately, succeeding departing CFO Peter Klein, who will remain until the end of the fiscal year in June to ensure a smooth transition.

Klein, who had been CFO for four years and at Microsoft for 11, had announced last month that he would be leaving to spend more time with his family and to travel.

“I’m excited to step into this role and look forward to working closely again with our investors and shareholders,” Hood said in a news release.

As CFO of the Microsoft Business division, which includes Office, Hood oversaw a unit that generated $24 billion in sales last fiscal year.

She also was instrumental in helping lead the transition to a subscription-services model for Office with Office 365 and was deeply involved in the company’s acquisitions of Skype and Yammer, according to Microsoft.

In a news release and a separate internal email about the appointment, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer referred to Hood’s experience with two major directional and cultural shifts within the company: its transition from a traditional software firm into a devices-and-services company, and its increased emphasis on cross-division collaboration.

“Amy brings the right talents and experiences to the role as we continue to strengthen our focus on devices and services,” Ballmer said in the news release.

“As the CFO of (the Business division), she’s helped lead the transition to services with Office 365, and has consistently driven strong financial and operational management,” Ballmer said in an email to all employees. “Amy is a great collaborator with a history of successful cross-group projects, and I am looking forward to having her as a member of my leadership team.”

In her own internal email, Hood said: “As a company, we are laser-focused on our transition to devices and services.”

She also said she was thankful to Klein for creating a culture where “people are everything.”

Those collaborative skills should help her fit into Ballmer’s senior leadership team, which seems to have become “a very collegial group,” said veteran Microsoft analyst Rick Sherlund, of investment bank Nomura.

Sherlund, who knew Hood years ago when both worked at Goldman Sachs investment firm, said Hood is “very bright, high energy” and gregarious.

“I think the biggest contribution that will need to come from her over the next five to 10 years is transforming Microsoft’s business into a service business rather than a transaction business.”

Certainly, the naming of Hood as CFO makes sense for a company that’s increasingly focused on services and devices, said Norman Young, an analyst with Morningstar investment-research firm.

“She served in the two main divisions [Business and Server & Tools] that are the two growth drivers for the firm in the last few years,” Young said. “More tellingly, most recently she was in charge of the Business division as it moved to the cloud with Office 365.”

Josh Olson, an analyst with Edward Jones Investments, said major points in Hood’s favor were her experience heading finances for Microsoft’s most profitable division, as well as her understanding of subscription pricing.

He doesn’t expect her appointment to have much effect on Microsoft’s share price, saying other executive transitions at the company recently have been more significant, such as the departures of former Windows President Steven Sinofsky and former Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie.

Hood’s appointment makes her one of four women at Microsoft’s highest executive levels. The others are Lisa Brummel, head of human resources; Julie Larson-Green, head of Windows product development; and Tami Reller, chief marketing and financial officer for Windows. Hood joined Microsoft in 2002, working in the investor relations group.

She has also served as chief of staff in the Server & Tools business and has run the strategy and business development team in the Business division.

At Goldman Sachs, Hood worked in investment banking and the capital markets groups.

Hood holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke University and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University.

She lives in Seattle with her husband and daughters.

Microsoft shares closed Wednesday at $32.99, down 32 cents. The announcement naming Hood came after the market closed and appeared to have no impact on the share price, which remained at $32.99 in after-hours trading.

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or jtu@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @janettu.

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