Microsoft database leader to step down

Paul Flessner is stepping down at the end of the year

Paul Flessner, who helped Microsoft develop a competitive enterprise database, plans to leave his post at the end of the year.

Flessner will leave his role as vice president of the Data Storage and Platform Division as of Jan. 1 to pursue personal endeavors, a spokeswoman from Microsoft's public relations firm confirmed on Wednesday. However, he will stay on at the company part-time and continue to work on projects within the Platform Services Division.

Ted Kummert, a Microsoft corporate vice president who currently leads the Security, Access and Solutions Division, will take on Flessner's day-to-day and management responsibilities.

Microsoft broke the news of Flessner's move to employees of its Server and Tools Business, which oversees the Data Storage and Platform Division, through an internal memo from Bob Muglia, senior vice president of that business.

The latest version of Microsoft's SQL Server database, SQL Server 2005, has shown consistent revenue growth in the company's quarterly revenue reports since its release in November 2005. Flessner led the development effort for that product, and also helped drive performance, scalability and reliability enhancements in SQL Server 2000. That product, released in September of 2000, for the first time gave Microsoft an enterprise-class database that was on par with offerings from rivals such as Oracle Corp. Flessner was promoted to his current role soon after SQL Server 2000's release.

Prior to joining Microsoft as a program manager for enterprise computing in 1994, Flessner spent 13 years developing and managing IT systems for a health-care company.

Flessner is not the only Microsoft executive who soon will be moving from a full-time position to a part-time one. Microsoft co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates announced in June that beginning in July 2008, he, too, will move to a part-time position at Microsoft so he can focus on the philanthropic efforts of the organization he runs with his wife, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Microsoft has undergone a massive reorganization that began last September when management pared the company down from seven divisions to three to make it more agile and responsive to business trends.

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