Wenda Harris Millard, the former Martha Stewart Living Co-CEO and one-time Yahoo (YHOO) sales topper, is set to temporarily take over advertising sales at News Corp (NWS) subsidiary MySpace, a source close to the company tells us.
Wenda will do it while remaining president of media consulting firm Media Link, which has taken on MySpace as a client.
All Things D reported Wenda’s hiring earlier today.
Current MySpace sales boss Jeff Berman will leave the company.
Wenda’s hiring is a coup for MySpace. There are maybe a dozen really big names in online advertising sales, and Wenda Harris Millard is one of the biggest. Though her tenure ended strangely, Wenda is often credited for turning Yahoo (YHOO) into the place big brands went to advertise online during the middle part of this decade.
MySpace remains in a heap of trouble — users grow less engaged by the day — but led by former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta, the social network’s new management has hired some impressive talent.
New hires include:
- Sling exec Jason Hirschhorn as chief product officer
- Former AOLer Mike Jones as COO
- iLike CEO Ali Partovi, President Hadi Partovi, and CTO Nat Brown
- Facebook, Apple and Amazon exec Katie Geminder as SVP of user experience and design
- Former AOLer Mike Macaadan as VP of product
Update: MediaMemo landed a copy of MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta’s memo announcing the Media Link hire to employees.
I want to share some thoughts about our advertising product strategy and give you an update on the structure of our sales organisation.
In the last three months we’ve focused our attention on restructuring the business, refocusing the MySpace user experience, and hiring some talented people particularly in the technology and product organisation. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in these areas and now want to focus on ensuring we have the best advertising product, sales strategy, and team in the market.
MySpace has always been a leader in the social media advertising space. Maintaining our leadership position requires that we foster the perfect balance between content and commerce. With this in mind, I’m pleased to announce that we are bringing a new partner into our global organisation. Please join me in welcoming to the MySpace team, Media Link – a top media representation and strategic advisory firm founded by Michael Kassan and whose clients have included Microsoft, AT&T, Unilever, Home Depot, and Colgate-Palmolive. Michael is an internationally recognised leader operating at the intersection of the media, advertising, and entertainment industries. He’s the founder and managing principal of Media Link and acts as an advisor to many of the Fortune 100’s best-of-breed global brands
Media Link will be focusing on two primary objectives. First, the firm will provide guidance as we reconfigure our ad products to meet the current needs of the marketplace. As a key strategic advisor and partner, they’ll provide us with an external perspective on the larger advertising market as well as insight into what top clients (and those we’re looking to attract) are asking for.
Second, as part of this process on an interim basis the firm will help manage our day-to-day sales organisation under the leadership of Wenda Harris Millard. Many of you know and have worked with Wenda in the past and for those who haven’t she’s truly an internet advertising pioneer. Her reputation on Madison Avenue is unmatched and after holding executive sales posts at Ziff Davis, Yahoo, and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia she recently joined Media Link as President.
After more than three years of managing a highly diverse set of responsibilities at MySpace including content and sales roles, Jeff Berman has decided to explore other opportunities. During his tenure at MySpace, Jeff brought leadership to our sales organisation and built an incredible team with expertise across every advertising vertical. I appreciate all the support that Jeff has given the new management team and look forward to welcoming new sales talent to compliment the tremendous group we currently have in place. We wish Jeff the best in his future plans.
Within our sales team, we have a deep bench of talent responsible for managing one of the most dynamic advertising platforms on the Web. I’d to like recognise the sales team for their hard work and dedication in creating meaningful ad solutions for our roster of advertisers.
Our senior sales team (in alpha order) includes:
· Chris Carlson – Regional Vice President of the Mid West
· Angela Courtin – SVP Marketing, Entertainment, Content
· Shari Friedman – Vice President of Entertainment Sales
· Mitchell Kreuch – Regional Vice President of East Coast Sales
· Abe Thomas – VP of Online Marketing
· Valeh Vakili – SVP Sales Strategy and Operations
· Sam Wick – SVP of Strategy for MySpace Music
· Andy Wiedlin – Regional Vice President of West Coast Sales
I appreciate your dedication and focus on delivering for our advertising partners during the last few months. I hope you’re as excited as I am to take our sales organisations to the next level.
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