Nash to go on sabbatical from Redmond

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By June, Microsoft will initiate a changing of the guard within its security group.

The software giant announced last week that Mike Nash, head of Microsoft's Security Technology Unit (STU), will step down from his position to go on sabbatical. He will be replaced by Ben Fathi, who now works as general manager for storage and high availability in the Windows group.

The move is part of larger shake-up within the company's Platform and Services Division that has been rumored to be at least partially linked with the most recent Windows Vista delays.

Nash will be reassigned to a new position when he returns from sabbatical. The 15-year Microsoft veteran has worked in numerous roles at Redmond headquarters. His notoriety increased in his position atop STU's chain of command, as he lead the group through some of the company's biggest security flare-ups, including the Slammer and MyDoom attacks. He was also well-known for his no-nonsense leadership style.

Stephen Toulouse, security program manager for Microsoft's security response unit, related his first meeting with Nash in a blog posting about Nash's departure.

"My first month in security involved the Slammer attack," he said, explaining that Mike was busy coordinating response to the attack when they were introduced. "Mike took one look at me and said, 'Ok. You're going to own the online experience for how people find out if they have MSDE on their systems. I don't care if Bill Gates himself walks in here and tells you to do something else, ask him to come find me first cause we need this done.' From that moment on I knew why Mike was doing the job he was doing."

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