Microsoft Sticks with Former Clinton Flack for Top Strategic Role


Microsoft isn’t listening to our advice.

Last week we learned that the company’s new CEO Satya Nadella was supposedly close to dropping former Clinton family flack/Burson-Marsteller head Mark Penn, now known as the guy behind all those anti-Google ads, as part of its brand refresh.

It now appears that Microsoft will take the very opposite approach by giving Penn the chief strategy officer position; he previously served as EVP of ads and strategy.

The shakeup continues with EVP of business development Tony Bates and EVP of marketing Tami Reller (with whom Penn supposedly had a spa) leaving the company altogether.

The question: is this a promotion or lateral move for Penn, who no longer controls the ad budget? And how might he reverse the tech giant’s fortunes as it continues to limp along behind both Google and Apple?

The best move would seem to be taking whatever advice Penn gave to former CEO Steve Ballmer and telling Nadella to do the exact opposite by sticking with upbeat messages like this Super Bowl spot rather than “sticking it” to Google.

Given the fact that the man has always specialized in attack ads an inflammatory statements, we can’t quite imagine that happening.