Huston leaves for Booking.com after three years in charge of sales and consumer marketing for Bing and MSN.
Microsoft's previous global ad sales and consumer marketing chief, Darren Huston, is leaving the company to take the top job at hotel reservations site Booking.com.
From 2008 until April 2011, Huston, 45, had responsibility for global sales of Microsoft's display and search ads. He has also led marketing for many of its consumer products - including MSN, Bing, Windows, and Windows phone.
In April Huston gave up ad sales oversight, which was taken over by Frank Holland. Holland is now head of global sales for Microsoft's advertising-driven businesses, reporting to Microsoft COO Kevin Turner.
Huston's success in the dual role has been mixed, at least here in the U.S. While Bing's launch campaign and early growth were celebrated as a valiant challenge to dominant Google, its market share now appears stuck at about 15 percent (30 percent when you factor in its Yahoo relationship) to Google's persistent 65 percent. And Huston's division made few major strides in marketing the Windows phone OS and MSN-related properties.
From the perspective of display ads, Microsoft maintained its standing on Huston's watch as a high-volume seller of both premium and remnant ad inventory. But the company has struggled to hang on to its senior sales leaders in the all-important U.S. market. Back in February, previous national sales VP Carolyn Everson fled for Facebook after just eighth months on the job. An earlier sales and marketing chief, Robin Domeniconi, lasted less than two years.
The current head of U.S. sales and marketing, Keith Lorizio, was appointed in summer 2010
At Booking.com, Huston will oversee a company that handles reservations for 165,000 hotels in 43 languages. The site is owned by The Priceline Group, which also operates Priceline.com, Agoda.com, and TravelJigsaw. Booking.com's previous CEO, Kees Koolen, will transition to chairman of the company.
Correction: Story has been updated to note Huston transitioned out of ad sales in April.
Revolutionize your digital marketing campaigns at ClickZ Live San Francisco (August 10-12)!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, our action-packed, educationally-focused agenda offers 9 tracks to cover every aspect of digital marketing. Join over 500 digital marketers and expert speakers from leading brands. Register today!
Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
US Consumer Device Preference Report
Traditionally desktops have shown to convert better than mobile devices however, 2015 might be a tipping point for mobile conversions! Download this report to find why mobile users are more important then ever.
E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle
Have you ever wondered what factors influence online spending or why shoppers abandon their cart? This data-rich infogram offers actionable insight into creating a more seamless online shopping experience across the multiple devices consumers are using.