Microsoft Appoints Online Unit’s Yusuf Mehdi to Run Xbox Marketing (Plus Internal Memos!)

Microsoft said today that longtime company veteran Yusuf Mehdi will be shifting roles to head marketing for the unit that includes its Xbox gaming division. Previously, Mehdi was in charge of the company’s online services division audience efforts. He will now report to Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business.

Here are the internal memos on the move from Online Services Division President Qi Lu and from Mattrick:

Hi Everyone,

This email is to inform you that Yusuf Mehdi, Chief Audience Officer for OSD, will be moving on to a new and exciting chapter in his career, working for Don Mattrick, President of the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), as the Chief Marketing Officer for IEB, effective 12/05/2011.

Yusuf and I have been discussing his career plan for several months, and we both felt with OSD and OABG’s success and momentum, the time is right for Yusuf to take on a new challenge for Microsoft. With more than ten years of service in Microsoft’s online services businesses, he has been a trusted adviser, a great leader of people, and has helped get us to where we are today in OSD. We are fortunate to have had Yusuf be an important part of OSD for the past ten years, and are equally fortunate that he is staying close, helping IEB continue its great momentum as it becomes a global entertainment brand for Microsoft.

Throughout my tenure at OSD, Yusuf has been a key member of the OSD LT and a trusted partner, from whom I have learned a tremendous amount about marketing, the industry, and Microsoft. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Yusuf and I am confident he will do an amazing job for Don, and continue to be a great partner to OSD and a great advocate for Bing and MSN.

Yusuf has been involved with leading Microsoft Online Services businesses longer than anyone else on the OSD LT, and has been a pivotal leader at critical milestones of our division’s journey from the early days of MSN, to the original MSN and Live Search products, to the launch of Bing and the consummation of key strategic deals for OSD and MS, including Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter and Nokia. Most importantly, he has built a world class marketing, business development, strategy, and product management organization that has made incredible contributions to the success of OSD and Microsoft. I want to take this opportunity to express my heart-felt thanks to Yusuf for everything he has done for OSD.

I have asked each of Yusuf’s direct reports to step up their contribution to help lead through this transition period. On an interim basis, all of Yusuf’s directs will now report into me. I have also asked that Mike Nichols help with coordination of the OABG ROB and represent OABG at the OSD LT level, in addition to maintaining his current responsibilities as GM of Bing Product Management.

Please join me in congratulating Yusuf in his new role, thanking him for his many contributions to Online, and wishing him all the best.


From: Don Mattrick
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 3:33 PM
Subject: RE: IEB Global Marketing News

After 21 years of outstanding service, Mike Delman has decided to retire from Microsoft at the end of the calendar year. Mike’s decision will allow him to spend more time with his family. He will also continue his non-profit efforts with Children’s Hospital and lecture at the USC Graduate School of Business.

While there’s never a great time to lose a valued leader, the time is right for Mike and the business to transition as we embark on our next journey to significantly grow our business in the next five years.

Between now and the end of the year, Mike will lead marketing through our biggest holiday ever, continue to set us up for long-term success, and work with me and Janet Zimmerman to identify his successor.

Mike’s marketing contributions at Microsoft are innumerable — he joined Microsoft in 1990 as director of corporate communications, responsible for advertising, collateral, point of sale, direct marketing and worldwide packaging for the entire Microsoft product line. Mike later became the director of marketing for Microsoft EMEA. He also served as general manager of the MSN and managed worldwide marketing operations, data and analytics, advertising, relationship marketing and events in the Central Marketing Group.

In 2008, he joined IEB as the CVP of IEB Global Marketing. Here in IEB, Mike played an extraordinary role in redefining the marketing organization. Specifically, under his leadership, the marketing organization has deepened the connection between marketing and product development, reinvigorated our research and business intelligence efforts, and set the course for repositioning Xbox from a core games brand to an entertainment brand for everyone. Over the same time period, the Xbox business doubled. I also want to thank Mike for his leadership in working with the team in EMEA to drive growth and success in that region.

Please join me in thanking Mike for his years of great work, and a heartfelt congratulations on his upcoming retirement. He has always been a strong strategic advisor for me, and I look forward to spending the next few months together.



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