Microsoft hires AWS veteran Charlie Bell for VP role

His specific role within the tech giant is thought to be subject to a non-compete clause signed while at AWS

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Microsoft has reportedly hired former Amazon Web Services (AWS) executive Charlie Bell for an undisclosed position.

Bell, who left AWS earlier in August, has been listed as a 'corporate vice president' but assigned to the department led by Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft's chief human resources officer, according to CNBC sources.

It's unlikely that Bell will stay within the human resources team at Microsoft, given his 23-year career at AWS was largely spent developing services such as EC2 and S3 computing and storage. He was also reportedly a candidate to succeed Andy Jassy as the cloud giant's CEO.

The secrecy around his role is thought to be due to a 'non-compete clause' he may have signed with AWS. The Information reports that "people familiar with the matter" said Bell is going to take "a few weeks off" while Microsoft and AWS work out what Bell can do in his new role without violating the non-compete agreement.

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AWS is well known for using the practice of non-compete agreements, which prevents one party from participating in activities that would directly compete with the other party, and has taken legal action against a number of former employees for breaking these agreements.

In 2019, ex-global director of financial services, Philip Moyer was taken to court after leaving AWS for a similar role at Google. Brian Hall, a former VP of product marketing at AWS, was also hit with legal action after leaving for Google Cloud. In both cases, AWS alleged that it was the terms of the new role that violated the non-compete agreement.

Whatever role Bell eventually takes, he brings extensive leadership experience to Microsoft, having held management roles at Oracle and an engineering position at Boeing in the early 1980s. He also ran his own business, Server Technologies Group, which was acquired by Amazon in 1998, kicking off his career with AWS.

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