New Microsoft chief executive officer (CEO) Satya Nadella has appointed former adviser to President Bill Clinton, Mark Penn (pictured left) to the newly created role of chief strategy officer (CSO).
Nadella announced Penn's appointment alongside a wave of other strategic reforms in a company email to Microsoft employees. It is currently unclear which duties Penn will have in his new role, but Nadella indicated that the firm would take advantage of his marketing and lobbyist experience.
"His focus on using data to quickly evaluate and evolve our campaigns has driven new insights and understanding. Mark and his team also will continue to provide input in the area of competitive research and analysis," read the email.
"I am looking forward to applying Mark's unique skill set across a broader set of challenges facing the company, from new product ideas to helping shape the overall areas of strategic investment. He will be a member of and an adviser to the senior leadership team and will continue to report to me."
Penn officially joined Microsoft in 2012 after serving as a third-party adviser to Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and he became executive vice president of advertising and strategy in August 2013. Before Microsoft he held numerous senior executive roles including chief executive of public relations firm Burson-Marsteller.
He has also advised Ford chairman Bill Ford, former US president Bill Clinton, former British prime minister Tony Blair and former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin on strategy.
Penn has also been responsible for numerous successful advertising campaigns, including an infamous criticism of president Barack Obama during the 2008 election and a "Don't Get Scroogled" anti-Google campaign for Microsoft.
Nadella indicated that the company would use Penn's experience to mount similar advertising campaigns. "Mark brings a blend of data analysis and creativity that has led to new ways of working and strong market outcomes such as the ‘Honestly' campaign and the Super Bowl ad, both of which were widely cited as examples of high-impact advertising across the industry," read the email.
Nadella also confirmed rumours that Microsoft's executive vice president of marketing Tami Reller, and executive vice president of business development and former Skype CEO Tony Bates will both leave the company. Bates was a known rival to Nadella for the CEO role.
The shift will see former corporate vice president of consumer channels Chris Capossela take on the role of executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
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