Microsoft’s Kirsten Ward Adds Xbox to Her Purview

Veteran Bing, MSN leader broadens her role

Microsoft is looking to tie more closely together its Web media properties (like Bing and MSN) and its gaming/media juggernaught Xbox.

Kirsten Ward, who had recently served as Microsoft’s director of media, Bing and MSN, is now jointly overseeing the media teams for the company's Online Audience Business Group (which includes Bing and MSN) as well as Xbox — as Microsoft looks to bolt those two groups together.

“We’ve been actively looking to unify the media teams for Xbox and Online Audience Business Group for some time. We’re looking forward to bringing together the passion and creativity of these media teams," said a Microsoft spokesperson who asked not to be named.

Ward is well-regarded among Microsoft insiders, and is credited for Bing’s slow-but-steady growth. “She’s a rockstar,” said one former executive.

Ward’s assumption of Xbox media is noteworthy, as the company continues to put some of its top talent behind the gaming and media property. Last November, Microsoft tapped veteran Yusuf Mehdi, one of the driving forces behind the launch of Bing and the company’s adCenter platform, to head up Xbox marketing.