Microsoft are one of the most successful technology based organisations on the planet, so it might be a surprise to many in hearing that one of their leading female executives was possibly skipped over in a recruitment drive to fill a top position.
Natalie Ayres had worked at Microsoft for 15 years and had climbed the ranks to ‘general manager of Small-Medium Enterprises and Partners Group.' She was seen as a prime candidate to fill the position of Alistair Baker as managing director of Microsoft UK when the position became vacant.
According to reports on the Telegraph newspaper in the UK however the position went to Gordon Frazier, a general manager at Microsoft South Africa. Apparently he got the position, even before Ayres finished her interview. She left later than year under a ‘compromise agreement', which sources claim was worth at least £1 million.
When she left, apparently people within the company became angry, saying she was unfairly treated by the upper management.
An unnamed source told The Telegraph “They [management] do not follow procedure enough and if your face doesn’t fit, you suffer. It’s a boys’ club. The only way to progress beyond a certain point is to become a male in female clothing.”
The same source told the newspaper that women hit a ceiling at ‘level 65 or above', a senior level in the company.
A Microsoft spokesman said: “As is standard practise for any responsible company, Microsoft does not comment about individual employees, current or former. However, Microsoft places great importance on the core values of diversity and inclusiveness, which is just one of many reasons why it is consistently ranked as one of the top 50 work places in the UK.”
Kitguru says: Ayres has not made any public statements on the matter.