Tech Moves

Microsoft names Brad Smith vice chair, plans $60B share buyback, units Nov. 30 annual assembly

Microsoft President Brad Smith. (GeekWire File Photo / Dan DeLong)

Brad Smith, the Microsoft president who oversees the company’s government, legal and public affairs operations, has been named vice chair of the company, taking on an additional executive role as approved by the board of directors.

“This reflects the unique leadership role that Brad plays for the company, our board of directors and me, with governments and other external stakeholders around the world,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a news release Tuesday announcing the appointment. Smith will continue to report to Nadella, the company says.

Smith rose to prominence in Microsoft and the tech industry as the company’s longtime general counsel, leading the company out of its antitrust era. He has since shifted to an expanded role representing Microsoft on a wide range of policy and societal issues, including cybersecurity, government relations, the environment and social issues.

In a new edition of his book, Tools & Weapons, he warns that tightly controlled silos of information about cyberattacks persist among U.S. agencies, and calls for more transparency and cooperation on the issue among companies and government leaders.

Microsoft’s board also announced a new plan to buy back up to $60 billion of the company’s shares, and declared a quarterly dividend of 62 cents per share, up 11% from the prior quarter. The company says it will hold its annual meeting via webcast on Nov. 30.

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