The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft - 5. Brad Smith
5. Brad Smith, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, Legal & Corporate Affairs
Microsoft is a company under the oversight of European and U.S. trustbusters, and some Microsofties joke that the ratio of lawyers to employees is 1:1. But Smith's influence is much larger than Microsoft's legal problems. Under his leadership, Microsoft adopted a more conciliatory approach and sought to work more cooperatively with governments. Smith is the voice of reason and cooperation for people inside and outside Microsoft.
Among Microsoft's 70,000-plus employees, there are many influential people. Twenty-five is too small a number to capture the best of the best among a large group of creative people. But Microsoft corporate culture also is very staid and insular, with a top-heavy power structure. Therefore, for this list, I focused more on operational influencers, although there are some thought leaders included. By Joe Wilcox, Microsoft Watch