Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Exclusive: Exec Changes at MSN–Jorgensen to Mobile, Cahall to MSN

Here is a memo just put out by Microsoft SVP Satya Nadella about big management changes at MSN, obtained by BoomTown.

Current MSN head Erik Jorgensen will move over full-time to focus on mobile efforts, and his replacement will be Ted Cahall, who most recently headed tech efforts at AOL (AOL).

In another move, Marc Davis has joined Microsoft as Partner Architect to the Online Services Division, working for Nadella on strategy. He comes from a stint as chief scientist at Invention Arts and before that worked at the MIT Media Lab, Interval Research, UC Berkeley, and Yahoo (YHOO).

But why listen to BoomTown yammer on–here’s the internal memo from Microsoft (MSFT):

From: Satya Nadella
Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 1:26 PM
To: XXX
Cc: XXX
Subject: OSD R&D Leadership Announcement

I wanted to share some changes we are making in OSD R&D team to better align and focus our leadership on key priorities across MSN and Mobile.

As you know, mobile is a top priority for OSD. Over the past year, it’s become increasingly clear that driving innovation in mobile presents an opportunity to rethink search. Specifically, we have an opportunity to build mobile search into an indispensible service for completing tasks and making decisions by weaving in geo-spatial & personal context.

To capitalize on the mobile opportunity we need to deliver innovation that consumers love and is competitively differentiated. To this end, I have asked Erik Jorgensen to focus fully on this opportunity. Erik will continue to drive our product strategy and execution across mobile devices, as well as building the cutting-edge location & mapping services.

Erik’s leadership across the MSN and mobile businesses over the past few years has been invaluable to the team. Asking him to double-down and focus on mobile and mapping is the right thing for our business, and I want to thank him for his leadership in the past, and for all the contributions he will make driving our mobile and location-based services efforts forward.

We have built strong momentum on MSN, and fully expect this to continue. MSN is a critical part of our online strategy, creating personally and socially relevant content experiences that drive massive amounts of traffic to Bing while maintaining a successful display advertising business. Over the past year the team has done great work–releasing a new homepage with a new design and feature set that is resonating with customers. MSN has also delivered new video experiences across Bing and MSN, Content Studio, a rich social platform, and UCP migration in all international markets. In addition, the team has driven innovative content partnerships in 46 countries, which give MSN a differentiated set of services to offer to our customers and keep our audience growing and engaged.

I am very excited to announce that Ted Cahall will join Microsoft as Corporate Vice President, MSN, reporting to me. It’s critically important to keep our MSN momentum going, and getting Ted is a big win for us. Ted brings a strong command of technical, operational and business details from his years of experience in the online world, including senior leadership roles at AOL, United Online, Bank of America and CNET Networks. Ted will move out here to Seattle, and will start on September 7th. Erik will be working closely with Ted and the MSN leadership team over the coming month to make this a smooth transition.

The MSN leadership team of Scott Moore, Geoff Sutton, John Skovron, Anil Mehra and Erik Zigman, will report to Ted and continue the great work and momentum we have seen in MSN over the past year.

This is exciting news for OSD. With our increasing investments in mobile and location-based services and our great momentum with MSN, putting such strong leaders against our biggest challenges will enable deeper focus on the things that will drive our business forward.


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