Terry Myerson talks at the 2012 Windows Phone Summit as CVP of the division.

Terry Myerson has departed Microsoft after 21 years of dedication to the company. The move comes amicably but with considerable emotion given his instrumental role in many facets of the organization.

Myerson will be starting his “next chapter outside of Microsoft” after a short break, but took time to reflect on some of the standout memories.

One of those is Myerson’s introduction to the company, which happened shortly after a meeting with then CEO Bill Gates in 1996. Myerson was already making a name for himself in the internet space under Intersé, one of the earliest internet analytics and marketing companies. Intersé was acquired in 1997 shortly after the initial discussion.

“Understanding usage patterns on your Web site is the best way to see what your customers are interested in so you can deliver the most targeted content,” said Gates at the time. ”Intersé is the team that had this vision and is delivering on it.”

However, Gate’s couldn’t have predicted the lasting impact that acquisition would have on his company. Myerson says that out of the 20 or so employees that joined Microsoft, five are still there, including Harvinder Bhela, who continues to lead Windows development.

Myerson’s hand gestures have changed little over the years.

He doesn’t mention that he may have had the biggest impact of all of them. After a working on Site Server for some time he joined the Exchange team, and ended up leading it for 8 years. It became the beginnings of Microsoft Office 365, which is today worth over $2 billion.

In 2008, he became head of the mobile engineering team, calling for the creation of Windows Phone, which was ultimately unsuccessful but informed many of the company’s later decisions. Under that arm, Myerson also hired Joe Belifore, who has since led the group that created Cortana and Continuum, as well as designing the Metro interface.

A Big Promotion

However, Myerson’s real break came when he was promoted to the executive vice president of the operating systems engineering division in 2013. There, he led development on Windows, Xbox, Windows Phone, and HoloLens.

A year later, Satya Nadella took over, a man Myerson was familiar with from his first steps at the company.

“One of the first people I worked with was a guy on the team named Satya Nadella. I vividly recall attending a Seattle Mariners game with him in the late 90’s when he first shared with me about his son and his medical challenges. I grew up a little that day,” said Myerson in a LinkedIn post.

The rest, you’re probably familiar with. Windows 10, Surface, Xbox One, Mixer. Myerson had a hand in all of them, and will no doubt be sorely missed. It’s not clear what the executive will do next professionally, but he finishes his post with one last emotional note.

“I’m sitting down next to Bill Gates for my last scheduled meeting as leader of Windows and Devices at Microsoft,” he says. “The conversation is smart, insightful and invigorating – and we’re both drinking Diet Cokes – just like that first meeting 21 years ago.”