Microsoft cloud exec accused of verbal attack on staff exits

Tom Keane helped Redmond win JEDI deal, respond to GDPR, and ran Azure datacenter infrastructure worldwide


Microsoft cloud lieutenant Tom Keane is departing the megacorp where he has spent the past 21 years in various senior roles. He is heading for the exit a month after featuring in a report about the toxic culture among company execs.

Keane, a corporate Vice President at Microsoft, started out in the Consulting Services division in 2001 before becoming group engineering manager for the System Center and then taking on the same role for Office 365.

From late 2012 until November last year, Keane was Azure corporate veep and head of global infrastructure, industry clouds, and data sovereignty. He oversaw thousands of engineers, product managers, and data scientists overseeing Microsoft's datacenter estate internationally.

Key responsibilities also included shaping Microsoft's response to GDPR, building Azure infrastructure for China, and contributing to the technical response to the US Department of Defense's JEDI procurement.

His last months at the company have been spent as corporate veep and head of engineering for the Strategic Missions and Technologies division.

However, Keane has now confirmed that his journey at Microsoft is coming to an end, although he stopped short of saying where he is headed next.

"I am leaving Microsoft and taking the next step in my career to build on the world's computer. I could not be prouder of the last 21 years, and equally excited for my next journey to begin," he said on LinkedIn.

In May, Insider alleged Keane had earned the nickname "King Tom" at Microsoft because, according to sources quoted in the article, he expected staff to be at his "beck and call" and "obey him without question, or suffer his wrath." One former Microsoft exec claimed they'd seen Keane "reduce people to tears."

Keane leaves behind a business in rude health. Microsoft continues to grow rapidly amid a pandemic that has seen a proliferation of cloud services.

Azure was the second most used cloud service in 2021, behind Amazon Web Services, accounting for 22 percent of the $53.5 billion that customers spent on cloud infrastructure services. Microsoft grew 46 percent on the prior year to $11.7 billion. AWS accounted for 33 percent of that global spend.

The Register has asked Microsoft and Keane to comment. ®

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