NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Microsoft has tapped a former engineering star from Yahoo as its new head of online services.
Qi Lu will run Microsoft's search and online-advertising businesses as well as its online-information and online-communications businesses. He will report to CEO Steve Ballmer.
Meanwhile, Brian McAndrews, former CEO of aQuantive and current senior VP-president of Microsoft's Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group, will leave Microsoft, consulting to Messrs. Ballmer and Lu during the next several months.
Contrast to Ballmer
In a statement, Mr. Ballmer praised Mr. Lu's deep technical expertise, leadership capabilities and hardworking mentality. Mr. Lu -- a well-regarded executive at Yahoo, where he oversaw engineering for Yahoo's search, e-commerce and local-business-listings businesses -- will be a contrast to the bombastic Mr. Ballmer. One former Yahoo colleague described Mr. Lu as someone "of few words, but when he spoke everybody listened."
Four groups will report to Mr. Lu: the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions business, now managed by Scott Howe, who was recently promoted to corporate VP; the online-audience business, managed by Senior VP Yusuf Mehdi; online-services-group research and development, managed by Senior VP Satya Nadella; and online-services-group finance, managed by Rik van der Kooi, who also was promoted to corporate VP.
As part of the reorganization, the sales team in the online-services group, which is called consumer and online sales and led by Corporate VP Darren Huston, will become part of Microsoft's centralized sales, marketing and services group, led by Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner. Included in this move is the global ad-sales team, led by VP Bill Shaughnessy.
A blow to the company
Losing Mr. McAndrews, who built aQuantive from a small ad agency into a full-blown technology company he sold to Microsoft for $6 billion, will be a blow to the company. He was considered at one point a frontrunner for the top online-services job, but there was also the question of how long he wanted to remain at Microsoft. Some have suggested Mr. McAndrews, who was named Ad Age's Digital Executive of the Year, would be an interesting choice for the Yahoo CEO role.
Mr. Lu joined Yahoo in 1998 from IBM Almaden Research Center and more recently led Yahoo through the massive undertaking of revamping its search platform and introducing a new one, known as Panama. He left Yahoo over the summer. His arrival at Microsoft is a sign that the culture of Microsoft's online businesses has moved away from that of a media company and become more engineering-focused, a shift that has caused some executives to leave.