Microsoft’s human-resources chief Lisa Brummel leaving

Lisa Brummel, leader of Microsoft human resources for nearly a decade, will step down at the end of the year.

Brummel, executive vice president for human resources, is a 25-year veteran of the company and part-owner of the Seattle Storm. She has held a variety of roles in management and marketing in Microsoft’s hardware, consumer and productivity businesses, and has led human resources since 2005.

She will be succeeded in the HR post by Kathleen Hogan, who currently leads Microsoft Services.

Microsoft Services, with about 21,000 employees, is Microsoft’s customer-support and consulting network and the largest single organization within the company.

Hogan joined Microsoft in 2003, and previously worked for the McKinsey consulting firm, as well as Oracle.

“Kathleen is an accomplished, well-respected and well-rounded leader who obsesses over our customers and is motivated by people’s passion for how technology can change the world,” Chief Executive Satya Nadella said. “She is the right person to continue pushing our cultural transformation forward, and she will ensure Microsoft remains the best, most inclusive place to work.”

Brummel grew up in Westport, Conn., and joined Microsoft in 1989 after receiving a master’s in business administration from UCLA. An athlete during undergraduate years at Yale University, Brummel was part of a group of four Storm season-ticket holders who joined forces to buy the team from Clay Bennett in 2008.

Most of Brummel’s years at the helm of human resources came during Microsoft’s oft-criticized practice of stack-ranking, the process of ranking employees during performance reviews. Some employees said the system lowered morale and limited the incentives for workers to collaborate.

Under stack ranking, managers were required to designate their staff into five groups — from top to bottom performers — based on set percentages. Even if everyone in a team performed well, managers were required to designate some as underperformers.

Each of Microsoft’s review systems “seemed to be right for the time in which they were implemented,” she said when the program was phased out last November. Still, she said the new review protocol “will let us focus on what matters — having a deeper understanding of the impact we’ve made and our opportunities to grow and improve.”

Brummel’s tenure coincided with a more than doubling of Microsoft’s workforce, from 61,000 employees the year she started at human resources to 128,000 at the end of June.

Her time also included the only two large-scale layoffs in Microsoft history; the first in the wake of the 2008 recession, and the 18,000 in cuts implemented this year after the company’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business.

A Microsoft spokesman said Brummel wasn’t available for comment Monday.

Hogan will join Microsoft’s leadership team on Nov. 28 and report to Nadella, the company said.

Brummel, 55, will stay at Microsoft through the end of the year to assist with the transition.

U.S. Microsoft employees with 15 years of service who are eligible to receive stock as part of their compensation can retire at age 55 and keep the stock they were scheduled to receive, according to a company securities filing.

Replacing Brummel with Hogan maintains the number of women in Microsoft’s 15-person top echelon at three. The other women on Microsoft’s senior leadership team are Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood and business-development chief Peggy Johnson.

In the last year under Brummel, Microsoft said the percentage of women in its global workforce jumped to 29 percent, after several years of stagnation at 24 percent. The jump puts Microsoft on par with the percentage of female employees at peers like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple, whose workforces are all about 30 percent female.

“Have we made progress? Yes, we certainly have, and I am proud of the progress we have made,” Brummel wrote in an email to employees after the latest data was released last month.

“But we can all agree that much work remains to be done to increase the diversity of our company and the tech industry.”

Information from The Seattle Times archives was used in this report. Matt Day: 206-464-2420 or On Twitter @mattmday

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