Veteran Microsoft Engineering Leader Jon DeVaan Leaving The Company After 30 Years

Jon DeVaan

Microsoft today lost another senior engineering leader. Jon DeVaan, the veteran Microsoft executive who held various positions inside Microsoft for three decades is now leaving the company to spend more time with his family. Microsoft confirmed the news as well.

Microsoft provided the following statement regarding Jon DeVaan,

 “Jon DeVaan has chosen to leave Microsoft to spend more time with his family. Since he joined Microsoft in 1984, Jon contributed to important products and services across the company. We thank him and wish him and his family all the best.”

Steven Sinofsky commented the following on Jon to Geekwire,

Back in the early 1990′s the use of garbage collection was more theoretical than practical (it is used broadly today in .net and scripting languages), but I was really into it having just come from graduate school (the theoretical).  I went to see Jon to convince him of the virtues of using GC in Excel as we explored using it in our first C++ tools. He was open minded and then patiently showed me the tiny number of bugs in Excel that were rooted in memory management problems and also showed me just how memory efficient Excel was–all due to the amazing coding and engineering the team did.  At once I learned the limits of theory, the pragmatic engineering Jon exhibited, as well as his patience and openness to new ideas from a ‘new guy’.

If you are not familiar with Jon, From Wikipedia,

He started at Microsoft in 1984 working on application programs for the Macintosh and was a programmer on Excel 1.0. DeVaan played an important role in defining the engineering practices of Microsoft in the early days of writing GUI software. In this time line DeVaan shipped Excel 1.0 through Excel ’95 on Macintosh, OS/2 and Windows platforms. DeVaan was one of the leaders who drove the evolution of the Microsoft applications division from fiercely independent standalone teams to an integrated team creating Microsoft Office 1.0 through the delivery of Office ’97 and the design of Office 2000.

In 1999 he left the Office group to work on the online and TV areas of Microsoft participating in the development and launch of UltimateTV(r) and the Microsoft TV(r) platform. In 2002, working for Bill Gates, DeVaan led a company wide effort known as Engineering Excellence to revitalize the engineering practices of Microsoft. In 2006, he assumed leadership of the Windows Core Operating System Division (COSD), responsible for the teams that create the core components and architecture of Microsoft Windows, with the mission of revitalizing the team’s software engineering practices.[2]

DeVaan led COSD to create Windows Vista SP1 and Windows 7 and in 2009 became the leader of the development team delivering Windows 8 and 8.1.

We thank Jon DeVaan for his incredible work at Microsoft.