Questions abound on firing of Microsoft's CIO

There is immense curiosity as to why Microsoft so publicly named and shamed Scott but people also wonder much this will actually damage his long term prospects.

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In addition to the question of what corporate policy now-former Microsoft CIO Stuart Scott violated to lead to his termination by the company on Monday, many other unknowns remain.

For instance, why didn't Microsoft and Scott work out some sort of face-saving departure? Was Microsoft tougher on Scott than it might have been on someone else because he was CIO? And what career paths remain open to the 40-something Scott?

One thing is for certain: Scott's firing has become unusually public, even though the termination was disclosed in an internal memo and Microsoft did not formally announce it to the outside world or specify what internal policy he had violated.

Art Crane, principal at Capstone Services, a human resources consulting firm, said via email that it is "rather unusual" to see an involuntary termination be disclosed so publicly. "More typically, companies would want the situation to just go away without a lot of fanfare," Crane wrote.

That may not have been possible in this case, though. Scott had worked at Microsoft for only two years and was relatively unknown, especially in comparison with many of the company's other executives. But because of its size and market clout, Microsoft is always under the spotlight.

And, Crane wrote, "with the heightened focus on ethical considerations of late, it's important for a company, particularly one as visible as Microsoft, to deal with infractions swiftly and to send messages to employees, stockholders, regulators and the general public that it won't tolerate violations."

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