Can’t change meeting organizer

There’s no way to modify or update the organizer of an existing Microsoft Outlook or Teams meeting.

The organizer is the person (or account) that created and owns the meeting. Importantly, only that account can make changes or updates to the meeting.

But what happens when someone changes roles or leave the organization?

If you need to change who can modify a meeting, then you need to delete the old meeting and create new a meeting with the new account. I know canceling and recreating meetings is a bunch of busy work. Unfortunately, there aren’t any other solutions. Microsoft Teams adds some additional challenges (and also hope); see below.

I recommend the following approach.

  1. If appropriate, communicate with the meeting attendees ahead of time about the changes that you are about to make so they aren’t surprised by meeting cancelations, updates, and invitations.
  2. Create the new meeting before removing or updating the existing meeting. This should avoid the problem of people getting other meetings booked in the meeting time you already had scheduled while you are making these changes.
  3. If you have access to the original meeting’s organizer account, you can use that account to cancel the existing meeting. If the actual account owner can’t do this for you, it might be possible to use calendar delegation to allow you to cancel a meeting on their behalf.

That process should work for one-off meetings. But most folks ask about changing ownership for recurring meetings. The basic ideas above still apply, however, we don’t need to cancel all of the meeting occurrences, just those in the future. Here’s what I would do:

  1. Communicate!
  2. Create the new recurring meeting, but start at the next occurrence. You don’t need to rewrite history.
  3. Rather than cancel the original meeting, edit the meeting series and change the end date to the last meeting that makes sense. Again, this would need to be done as the original meeting organizer, either with their help or with delegation.

There are some additional wrinkles to be aware of as you work through these meetings.

  • I recommend updating meetings using Outlook rather than the calendar function within Teams. Outlook allows more flexibility in updating meetings, like sending updates just to people you add or remove from a meeting rather than everyone.
  • Meeting rooms usually don’t allow double-booking. For this reason, you may need to exclude a meeting room from the new meet or meeting series when you first create it. Once you’ve cancelled or shortened the series of the previous meeting, you can use Outlook to add the meeting room as an attendee and send the update just to the room.

What about Microsoft Teams meetings?

We have a similar situation in Microsoft Teams. The person (account) that creates the Teams meeting is the organizer, and the only person that can make changes to the meeting or access certain functionality (e.g., attendance or breakout rooms).

Microsoft Teams doesn’t support delegate functionality the same way that Outlook does. This is a bit complicated, depending on whether you use a Windows or Mac desktop. But as a workaround, many administrative staff have been creating Teams meetings themselves (so they are the owner of the Teams meeting), and then copying the meeting join information into an Outlook meeting they create as a delegate. This results in a confusing situation where the meeting calendar item is owned by one account, but the Teams meeting is owned by the account’s delegate.

If you are going to be recreating the meeting, I suggest also creating a new Teams meeting. Teams now supports an easy way to create a meeting link without adding it to your calendar:

  1. Go to Calendar on the left side of the Teams window.
  2. In the upper right, click Meet now next to the New meeting button.
  3. Enter an appropriate Meeting name.
  4. Click Get link to share
  5. After some spinning (while a new Teams meeting is create), you can copy the link to paste it into the delegate calendar invite that you are creating.

This just gives you a (long, ugly) meeting link, but it works just fine, and saves the hassle of creating a meeting that appears on your calendar that you need to remove after the fact.

Possible good news

Microsoft is working on adding a co-organizer role to Teams meetings. This likely will still require the original meeting creator to configure. But I can imagine a common practice of adding co-organizers to standing meetings, which may reduce the need to change meeting ownership for some meetings.

Final thoughts

It may be worth thinking about whether a meeting really needs to be updated. If the meeting only has a few more occurrences, and there isn’t functionality that depends on the organizer role (e.g. breakout rooms), it may be fine to just let the meeting series finish and start the next series with the new organizer.

If all else fails, you can ask the meeting attendees to please delete the existing meetings from their calendars. We can edit the items on our own calendars, even items that were sent by other people.

I hope this is helpful.

Sr. System Administrator at the University of Vermont