Satya Nadella is still decorating his new office as Microsoft CEO, but he’s wasted no time making sweeping executive changes. In the same internal memo that announced the departure of senior leaders Tony Bates and Tami Reller, the company revealed that Mark Penn is Redmond’s new chief strategy officer.
Penn joined Microsoft as a full-time employee in 2012 after two decades of advising Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. He worked for decades as a political advisor and pollster, coming to prominence with partner Doug Schoen with their work on Ed Koch’s 1977 mayoral campaign. Along with Michael Berland, they had founded polling and market research firm Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) a couple of years earlier.
Penn served as an advisor to President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 2000, and later assisted Sen. Hilary Clinton in her successful Senate runs and unsuccessful presidential bid in 2008.
Prior to joining Microsoft, he was CEO of Burson-Marsteller, leaving the PR firm in 2012 to become a corporate vice president and strategy specialist in Redmond.
“Mark brings a blend of data analysis and creativity that has led to new ways of working and strong market outcomes such as the ‘Honestly’ campaign and the Super Bowl ad, both of which were widely cited as examples of high impact advertising across the industry,” Nadella said in a memo.
Penn’s work also includes the famed anti-Google “Scroogled” campaign, as well as the Google-versus-Bing “blind taste test” advertisements, the New York Times pointed out.
Reporting to Nadella, Penn has earned a spot on the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and will continue aiding Microsoft’s competitive research and analysis departments. He will, however, turn over the company’s advertising budget to executive Chris Caposella.
“I am looking forward to applying Mark’s unique skill set across a broader set of challenges facing the company, from new product ideas to helping shape the overall areas of strategic investment,” Nadella said.