Microsoft has named Brad Smith as its new president and chief legal officer, effective immediately.

Company CEO Satya Nadella announced the appointment in an email to employees on Friday.

Nadella says Smith has played a broad role with the , and he now wants Smith to play a bigger role in strengthening Microsoft's relationships and representing the company publicly.

Smith joined Microsoft in 1993 and became its general counsel in 2002.

Nadella says Smith will work with the company's leadership team to help organize for success. Smith's focus going forward will include both his existing and additional responsibilities. Those include leading a number of new Microsoft initiatives.

Nadella says work is needed to accelerate initiatives that are important to Microsoft's mission, including privacy, security and accessibility.