MSN Boss Bradford Jumps Ship to Spot Runner

In New Post, Will Oversee Ad Division That Will Handle 'National Advertisers'

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NEW YORK ( -- In what is a blow to MSN, its top executive, Joanne Bradford, is leaving Microsoft for a position at Spot Runner, where she will lead a new division called national marketing services, which "focuses on national advertisers that are not served by the traditional agency community," according to the announcement.
Joanne Bradford
Joanne Bradford

Spot Runner has largely been a service used by small advertisers that don't have the size to invest in their own agency relationship. "As we've continued to make traction in this area, we saw the opportunity to bring on a seasoned senior executive to lead and accelerate our business with national advertisers," CEO Nick Grouf said in a statement.

Ms. Bradford, who was Microsoft's corporate VP-global sales and marketing and chief media-revenue officer, had been a presence in the software company since 2001 and an early leader of its strategy to be a bigger internet ad player. She was given oversight of MSN's global network as VP-chief media officer in 2006; before that she led global ad sales as chief media revenue officer.

Microsoft has, however, turned its attention away from its portal business in favor of building out a platform business, the foundation of which was its $6 billion acquisition of aQuantive last year. Most recently, it has launched an unsolicited bid to acquire Yahoo.

Yahoo's leadership has rejected the bid and recently pushed back the deadline for nominating directors to its board, which appears to be an attempt to stall a hostile move from Microsoft.

Microsoft leadership praised Ms. Bradford's contributions in an e-mail sent to employees this morning.

"In her seven years here, she has helped build a world-class sales organization, advanced Microsoft's advertising culture, and built a strong team that has evolved the MSN experience through partnerships and branded entertainment," wrote Satya Nadella, senior VP-search of Microsoft's portals and advertising platform group.

In the interim, Ms. Bradford will be replaced by Greg Nelson.
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