Bradford to Lead MSN

Joanne Bradford, who has been heading up Microsoft’s global ad sales since January, is shifting her focus to growing the MSN portal, which has become a greater priority for the company.

Bradford, previously corporate VP of global sales and trade marketing, and chief media revenue officer for all of Microsoft, has been named corporate VP and chief media officer for MSN. She will relinquish her oversight of Microsoft’s other media operations, including Windows Live, and the upcoming Xbox and Office Live platforms.

“This move signifies just how serious Microsoft is about the MSN business. Joanne’s new role was created so that there would be one person focused on the growth of the portal — growth in innovation and audience numbers. MSN is extremely important to Microsoft’s plans going forward,” a Microsoft spokesperson told ClickZ.

According to the spokesperson, the move is not about not changing course, but rather about “recalibrating goals and lining up Microsoft’s organization” to support the company’s Online Services Group.

“We’re extremely bullish about our future. The changes mean three key things: we’re betting on MSN, we’re investing in advertisers, and we’re investing in Windows Live services to gain customers,” the spokesperson said.

Bradford will continue to report to Steve Berkowitz, the former CEO of Ask.com who joined Microsoft in April as senior VP of Microsoft’s Online Services Group, overseeing Windows Live and MSN. Bradford’s global sales duties will fall to Chris Dobson, who expands his international sales role. Bill Shaughnessy will lead the Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions business group, heading up product management and planning.

John Nicole, the general manager of MSN.com, will maintain his programming and content development role for the portal, reporting to Bradford. Bradford will also oversee MSN’s marketing, product-management and content business development teams.

According to the spokesperson, those duties include “reinvigorating the MSN brand and establishing it as an autonomous business that will benefit from her sales perspective.”

The move comes in the same week as a shakeup at AOL, which saw the architect of its transformation strategy, Jon Miller, lose his job to NBC TV vet Randy Falco, who brings more operational experience to the company.

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