Microsoft CFO Resigns

Greg Maffei is the most high-ranking executive to leave the company during a recent string of resignations.
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Updated from 5:47 p.m. EST

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

said Wednesday that Greg Maffei had quit as chief financial officer, the most high-ranking executive to leave the company during a recent string of resignations.

The computer software behemoth said John Connors would replace him as senior vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer effective Jan. 7.

Microsoft shares fell 2 9/16 to 115 in after-hours trading after closing regular trading at 4 p.m. EST up 1 11/16.

Mark Corcoran, an analyst with

D.A. Davidson & Co.

in Portland, Oregon, said the market's negative reaction to the news stemmed from disappointment over losing an executive who has been a top-notch dealmaker.

"Maffei is credited with a lot of the deals that have been extremely profitable for Microsoft," said Corcoran, who rates Microsoft an outperform and has done no underwriting for the firm.

During his six years with Microsoft, Maffei forged strategic partnerships and investments with

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

,

Nextel Communications

(NXTL)

,

Comcast

(CMCSA) - Get Report

, and

TeleWest Communications

(TWSTY)

, among others.

But Corcoran downplayed Maffei's role in setting corporate strategy, adding that his loss would not threaten Microsoft's position as the world's biggest software company.

"If they were losing (chief executive)

Bill Gates

that would be a big deal," Corcoran said. "Long-term, this has absolutely no effect."

The Redmond, Wash.-based company said Maffei, who is leaving to become chief executive of

Worldwide Fiber

would remain at Microsoft through January to help with the transition. Worldwide Fiber, based in Vancouver, Canada, develops fiber-optic networks for the communications sector.

Connors has been with Microsoft for almost 11 years and most recently served as vice president of the worldwide enterprise group, responsible for the sales, services and relationship strategy for large, medium and small businesses across all industries.