June 20, 2011

Skype Fires Senior Execs Before Microsoft Purchase Completion

According to news reports, Skype Technologies is firing senior executives before Microsoft Corp. completes its purchase of the Internet-calling service.

Bloomberg reported that Vice Presidents David Gurl, Christopher Dean, Russ Shaw and Don Albet were dismissed from the company. 

The report, who cited sources familiar with the situation, also said Chief Marketing offer Doug Bewsher, head of human resources Anne Gillespie, and executives Ramu Sunkara and Allyson Campa were also fired.

According to Bloomberg, the timing of the dismissals means stock options will be worth less than if the executives stayed until the closing of the $8.5 billion deal. 

"All is good if you're staying with that transition team or you're packaged out," Niel Sims, a managing director at Boyden, told Bloomberg.  "But if you're eliminated unceremoniously, without a package and without some negotiation, you could certainly lose unvested options."

Microsoft announced the Skype purchase on May 10 and plans to connect it to Outlook e-mail, Xbox game console, Windows mobile phones and corporate-phone software.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said in June 17 that it approved the deal.

Skype was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis.  It offers voice and video calling over the Internet and is primarily used by consumers.


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