Marketing Job Watch Apr 06 2011

New Marketing Chief at Microsoft

By carl gaines and shareen pathak

Microsoft is moving quickly to fill the void left by Mich Mathews, who announced recently that she would be leaving the company this summer. Chris Capossela has been appointed senior vice president of the central marketing group and newly created consumer channels group and chief marketing officer at the company. He will control an annual ad budget of more than $1 billion, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Microsoft has been trying to bring its image closer to that of rivals like Apple. Even as Microsoft itself remains profitable, its marketing department has experienced a series of misses, like confusing ads for Windows Vista and Windows Phone 7 that jar with Apple's famously clever campaigns, according to CNET.

Mathews' departure overshadowed the Redmond, Wa.-based company's recent ad conference, attended by industry bigwigs from Unilever, P&G and Coca-Cola.

The Consumer Channels Group will place the company's retail, distribution and mobile operator divisions under one umbrella, which Capossela, 41, will oversee. He had most recently been a senior vice president in the Microsoft Office division, where he was in charge of marketing operations for the company's productivity tools. In that role he oversaw the launch of Office 2007 and Office 2010.

In his new role, according to a company statement, he will "work in close collaboration with Microsoft's OEM, retail, mobile operator and distribution partners to create new business opportunities and deliver exciting consumer experiences through Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox and Office." In addition, he will be responsible for Microsoft's communications across marketing, advertising and corporate, reporting to COO Kevin Tuner.

Microsoft announced last month that Capossela would be leaving his current position, but staying within the company. At that time the nature of his new role was unclear. A few weeks later, Mathews announced her departure.

The timing allows for some overlap between the two, and, according to the Microsoft release, Mathews will work with him as he transitions to his new role as head of marketing.

Capossela has a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard, class of 1991. His Twitter handle is @ChrisCapossela.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Write to Carl Gaines and Shareen Pathak

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