Senior MSN exec Joanne Bradford is jumping to highly hyped TV-ad facilitator Spot Runner (run by entrepreneur Nick Grouf and backed by Pilot Group and others). Here’s the email circulated within Microsoft (MSFT):
Subject: MSN Leadership Annoucement
Today we want to share with you that Joanne Bradford, corporate vice president of MSN, has decided to leave Microsoft to pursue a new opportunity with Spot Runner, an Internet-based ad agency headquartered in Los Angeles, where she will assume the role of Executive Vice President.
Please join us in thanking Joanne for her hard work and valuable contributions to Microsoft and the Online Services Business. In her seven years here, she has helped build a world class sales organisation, advanced Microsoft’s advertising culture, and built a strong team that has evolved the MSN experience through partnerships and branded entertainment. Joanne’s strength of character and fierce devotion to her employees have helped build an MSN organisation that can thrive and grow for years into the future, and for that we thank her wholeheartedly. We wish her the very best of luck in her next endeavour.
MSN is one of the world’s most successful portals, with more than 465 million unique users each month. Joanne and the MSN leadership team have driven key improvements in the service, deepening user engagement, simplifying navigation, and streamlining the behind the scenes technology. The team has also raised the bar on content and programming, moving MSN into the top ranking in Lifestyle and Political categories and hosting exclusive events like Live Earth and the Grammy Awards. The team has also built both business and technology frameworks to integrate services such as Live Search into the MSN experience.
MSN has been, and will continue to be, a critical component of our online services strategy. Today, it makes up a significant portion of our total ad sales revenue, helping drive display ad impressions and Live Search queries. MSN has also made strong inroads into mobile and video services that set us up for long-term success in these burgeoning markets. That, coupled with hundreds of premium content partners and extensive original programming, makes MSN’s value to our long-term mission crystal clear.
We are pleased to have a strong leadership bench in MSN, and with Joanne’s departure, Greg Nelson will serve as the interim leader, reporting to Satya. As Kevin Johnson announced a few weeks ago, we are continuing to deepen our functional alignments within business and engineering disciplines across PSD. Greg and the MSN leadership team will play key roles in defining what that looks like and how we continue our progress in the MSN business. In the coming months you will hear more from us about our teams’ goals and alignments for FY09, including work to move the appropriate MSN product management/marketing to the Online Services & Windows business group. We recognise that this change may create some uncertainty, and we are both committed to moving decisively but thoughtfully to clarify the MSN structure heading into FY09.
We realise we are going through a lot of change. What will give us strength and focus is our commitment to our teams and vision of moving our business forward. Both Bill and I are committed to working with the MSN team as we move MSN forward. Please reach out with any questions.
Thanks again to Joanne, and thank you for your passion, your commitment, and the results you are driving.