Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer and Surface advocate, Panos Panay, has officially departed from the company, with the announcement coming just days before a highly anticipated event in New York City where new Surface hardware is set to be unveiled.

Panay’s tenure at Microsoft spans nearly two decades, commencing in 2004 as the Group Program Manager for PC hardware. Over the years, he ascended through the ranks, culminating in his most recent role as Chief Product Officer, which he assumed in 2018. Throughout his time at the tech giant, Panos Panay gained recognition for his passionate and engaging presentations, particularly when unveiling new Surface devices.

In a Twitter announcement made this morning, Panay expressed his decision to move on, saying, “After 19 incredible years at Microsoft, I’ve decided to turn the page and write the next chapter. I’m forever grateful for my time at Microsoft and the amazing people I had the honor to make products with.”

Microsoft has since confirmed Panay’s departure. In a statement provided to TechCrunch, CEO Satya Nadella expressed his gratitude, saying, “Thank you, Panos, for your impact on our products, culture, company, and industry over the past two decades. I’m grateful for your leadership, support, and all you’ve done for Microsoft and our customers and partners. As Rajesh stated, we remain steadfast and convicted in our strategy, and Yusuf Mehdi will take the lead on our Windows and Surface businesses and products externally.”

This unexpected change in leadership comes at a pivotal moment for Microsoft, with the upcoming New York City event set to introduce the latest innovations in Surface hardware. The departure of Panos Panay, a prominent figure associated with the Surface line, adds an element of intrigue to the proceedings as the tech giant looks toward its next chapter in product development and innovation.