Stuart Scott's appointment as COO of Ocala, Fla.-based\n mortgage lender Taylor, Bean & Whitaker\u201416 days after\n he was fired by Microsoft for violating the software giant's\n corporate policies\u2014may not be as fortuitous as it seems,\n according to executive recruiters CIO.com interviewed.\n\n MORE ON JOB SHIFTS Ousted Microsoft CIO Stuart Scott Rebounds Quickly Ex-Microsoft CIO Stuart Scott Lands at Mortgage Lender You're Fired! What a High-Profile Termination Means to a Career and Tips for Rebounding from Controversy Extreme Commuting Follow Industry Moves in the Movers & Shakers Blog They point to the fact that Scott has moved from top IT jobs\n at two big, powerful companies\u2014GE and Microsoft\u2014to\n a leading role at a smaller organization playing in an\n embattled industry. Ed Highland, an analyst with Standard &\n Poor's structured finance group, says the privately held\n Taylor, Bean & Whitaker is "a good-sized company" that\n services about 300,000 prime loans and has "strong" S&P\n ranking for the efficiency of its loan servicing operation. The\n company says it has nearly $5 billion in assets."Stuart Scott's career progression from GE to Microsoft\n to\u2014what was the name of the firm again?\u2014is not\n exactly meteoric," says Marc Lewis, CEO of Leadership Capital Group, an executive\n search firm. "It's [a] very logical [move], given his\n apparent fall from grace at Microsoft, but logical does not\n make it impressive."On Nov. 21, Taylor, Bean & Whitaker issued a press release about Scott's appointment\n as COO, citing his impressive credentials to help the\n company "deliver innovative technology solutions." Several\n calls to the company to speak to executives about Scott's\n appointment have not been returned.Martha Heller, managing director of executive search firm\n ZRG's IT leadership practice, says Scott went from being a big\n fish in a big pond to being a slightly bigger fish in a "much,\n much" smaller pond.Moving into a COO role softens the blow of going from\n Microsoft to a lesser-known company, says Heller, who is also a\n columnist for CIO. "If you're going to be forced in a\n way to go to a company that isn't in an enviable space right\n now, you might as well try on a new corporate hat while you're\n at it," she says, adding that Scott's making the best of a bad\n situation. "The guy has to slum it, [but] at least he can\n challenge himself. He's a bona fide COO now."A Beneficial Deal for Two Beleaguered PartiesHeller and Lewis note that the beleaguered mortgage industry\n is not an attractive place for executives to land jobs right\n now. But the industry's woes\u2014and appetite for\n risk\u2014may have made it easier for Scott to get a job after\n being fired from Microsoft, and for a relatively small company\n like Taylor, Bean & Whitaker to recruit a high-profile,\n former GE and Microsoft exec. Companies in profitable,\n controversy-free industries that have the pick of the talent\n pool don't need to hire an executive who possesses even a whiff\n of controversy about him, says Heller.Lewis says the mortgage industry, which is known for taking\n chances, may not view hiring an executive with a damaged\n reputation as risky. And Taylor, Bean & Whitaker may be\n more interested in Scott's experience and connections than the\n dark cloud under which he left Microsoft. Lewis doesn't know\n how else to explain why the company hired someone into a COO\n position who's never previously been a COO and who's never\n worked for the financial services industry, let alone for a\n mortgage company.. (Other executive recruiters interviewed for\n a different story on Taylor, Bean & Whitaker's hire of Scott noted that industry switches\n such as Scott's aren't unprecedented.)Then There's the Cross-Country CommuteRecruiters said they find it notable that Scott has not\n relocated from his home in Bellevue, Wash., to north-central\n Florida, where his new employer is based.Heller notes that while such extreme commutes are increasingly popular\n among executives, most weekly commuters limit the distance to\n two to three hours by plane."It's very challenging for a new executive, especially one\n who's going to be in as people-oriented a role as a COO, to be\n successful remotely," she says. "If you ask any COO or CEO what\n skill has made them successful, they will say the ability to\n work with and forge strong ties with people, and even in our\n virtual world, that is a face-to-face job."Scott also needs the face time, she adds, to build his\n credibility with the rest of the company when rumors about him\n and the circumstances under which he left Microsoft may be\n abounding.