Although Peggy Johnson’s official designation is executive vice-president of business development for technology giant Microsoft, she is more popularly known in the company as dealmaker-in-chief. The first hire by the company’s famously charismatic CEO Satya Nadella, Johnson was assigned to establish relationships with external partners around the world to identify areas of collaboration, drive innovation and unlock shared value. In four years, she has helped lead over 40 investments with Microsoft Ventures, one of which was the acquisition of LinkedIn for US$26 billion. In her capacity, she also manages Microsoft’s relationship with the venture capital community and oversees strategic investments through the company’s corporate venture fund, M12.
I had heard of Johnson when Nadella hired her in 2014, but it was only this year that I had the opportunity to meet her — she was one of the many high-calibre speakers invited to the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Forum in Monaco. Her session, which was moderated beautifully by EY global chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger, was easily the most well attended of the three-day event with barely any standing space left. She spoke openly and honestly about her journey in engineering and technology — which, despite how far we have come, remains out of reach for many women — and her passion for supporting entrepreneurship together with Microsoft.
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