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Female ex-Microsoft exec gets $1.5 million settlement

Updated 4 years ago

Does Microsoft favor men when it considers promotions? According to one former UK executive and several additional sources speaking to, that may be the case. Natalie Ayres, the former general manager of Microsoft’s Small-Medium Enterprises and Partners group, said she expected a promotion to a managing director position after Alistair Baker moved on in 2006. However, Baker was succeeded by Gordon Frazer from Microsoft’s South Africa branch before she was even able to interview for the position. Microsoft paid Ayres more than £1 million ($1.5 million USD) when she decided to leave the firm as part of a “compromise agreement.” Read on for more.

Ayres’ is not alone in feeling that Microsoft hinders the upward progress of women. “[Management] does not follow procedure enough and if your face doesn’t fit, you suffer,” one source told “It’s a boy’s club. The only way to progress beyond a certain point is to become a male in female clothing.” Reportedly, women working at Microsoft begin to hit a glass ceiling when they approach the employee level of 65 or above. Telegraph‘s report also detailed an outrageous party in Atlanta during which male Microsoft employees reportedly sexually harassed female staffers. “As is standard practice for any responsible company, Microsoft does not comment about individual employees, current or former,” a Microsoft spokesperson told “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.”