woman standing in park using surface tablet

60 seconds with Hugh Milward

Hugh Milward has been appointed Senior Director of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs at Microsoft, overseeing the company’s legal and corporate affairs activities in the UK. The News Centre sat down with Hugh to find out more about his role, the challenges he will face and what he hopes to achieve.

Hugh Milward, Microsoft

Name: Hugh Milward
Role: Senior Director of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs at Microsoft
Age: 43
Lives: Brighton
Family: Married, four kids
Pets: Five fish (and counting)
Hobbies: Cooking (trained at Le Cordon Bleu and his speciality is barbecued curried chicken)
Previous roles: McDonald’s, Starbucks

Tell us about your new role
I am responsible for all of Microsoft’s legal and corporate affairs activities in the UK. The team’s activities range from negotiating contracts with major customers and helping firms navigate privacy and security issues when they partner with us, to working with policymakers when they look at the future technology landscape in this country.
I also oversee Microsoft’s philanthropy work and the business’s corporate responsibility programme, too. Microsoft and I personally take this very seriously.

What are your aims?
This is the first time Microsoft has appointed a director of corporate and external legal affairs who is not from a legal background, so I will bring a different and fresh perspective to the role. My focus will be on how government and society in the UK are responding to Microsoft and how we can use those views to adjust our business. It’s an “outside-in” policy of listening to what broader society is saying about what we do and acting on that.


What do you bring to the role?
The ability to hold up a mirror to some of the work we do, and compare that with what society expects of us. If Microsoft serves its customers well, we all do better. If we as a company serve customers effectively, we make products they want and are guided by values they share, then everyone will be more successful – consumers and us. This lines up with chief executive Satya Nadella’s vision of empowering everyone to achieve more – by thinking about how our technology empowers others, we are making stronger connections with people and enabling them to do the same in their lives.

What challenges will you face in the role?
Microsoft is facing the same challenges as society – namely, the fast-paced changes to the way people interact with each other. We want to make sure we use our technology to empower everyone on the planet, without leaving anyone behind.

Where society and technology interact, and they increasingly do, new challenges arise: privacy and security, for example. That is important for Microsoft and the societies in which we operate. We are navigating our way through it together.

Microsoft has operated in the UK for 30 years, and will continue to offer expertise and assistance to ensure technology works in the way people want it to, when they need it.

Surface tablet being used on lap, living room, work

What inspires you?
As a child I was driven by the need for fairness and including everyone in what I was doing. Now, not least because of my role in a company such as Microsoft, I have the ability to do that on a much larger scale. We are connecting people and bringing them together, helping more and more people achieve bigger and better things.

What is your favourite Microsoft product?
OneNote has completely changed the way I work. I can organise my thoughts using OneNote and access them on any device. It’s all there. And I can also share those thoughts with my team and we can work on them together in real time.