MSN Shifts Ad Sales Execs As It Aligns Under Search Mandate

by , Jul 18, 2004, 12:00 AM
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Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Internet portal said it promoted several key ad sales executives as the unit rallied around the software marketer's search marketing agenda.

Matt Lydon was promoted to senior sales director of search, a newly created position on the ad sales team; Mark Ugar to senior sales director, Sales Verticals, a role that includes responsibility for entertainment, Latino marketing, sports, financial services, retail, and automotive; Steve Sirich to director of U.S. sales strategy; and Steve Moss was promoted to senior sales director, National Field Sales.

Lydon was formerly the Western regional director at MSN, and managed the Western U.S. sales force and the region's advertisers and agencies. Ugar, formerly senior sales director-Vertical, was responsible for driving overall retail ad revenue within MSN, and is credited with transforming the business from a performance orientation to a brand focus. Sirich served as the vertical director for MSN's automotive category vertical for two years, managing the MSN Sales automotive team and providing guidance in sales and product strategy development for the industry.

Sirich's new role positions him as the voice of MSN's U.S. sales organization and customers in the product development, release, and management discussions within the MSN lines of business (Communication Services and Information Services). Moss, who now leads MSN's national sales team in an expanded role, previously managed the East Coast and Midwest regions as general manager of advertising.

Separately, Microsoft named Kate Murphy to the post of director of global advertising for MSN. Murphy comes to Microsoft from Grey Global Group's Grey Advertising, where she worked on the Oracle account. She will lead an integrated communications team to align consumer messaging, media plans, and promotions among MSN's global agencies.

"The changes recently made to the MSN Ad Sales organization structure will help us make MSN 'Easy to Sell and Easy to Buy,'" said Joanne Bradford, chief media revenue officer-MSN. "We are committed to being customer-focused and delighting our advertising customers every day with great products and service. We've aligned our team to put MSN in a position to achieve results for our advertising customers."

Microsoft recently announced a major overhaul of the MSN Search service; the MSN ad sales team is charged with selling and supporting MSN Search and MSN Direct Marketing solutions to specific customer segments. The promoted executives will also support MSN Search sales for customers managed by the national field and vertical sales teams.

Microsoft is set to announce its fiscal 2004 fourth-quarter earnings on July 22. For the period ending March 31, MSN reported revenue growth of 16 percent; its advertising revenue increased 43 percent to $100 million during the quarter.

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