Former Time Inc. Exec Domeniconi to Lead Microsoft U.S. Ad Sales

Will Be Responsible for Digital Media Assets From Xbox Live to Facebook Display Ads

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NEW YORK ( -- To try to pull together all of its myriad digital media assets for clients, Microsoft has lured an executive from the magazine world. Leading that effort domestically will be former Time Inc. executive Robin Domeniconi, who on Jan. 1 will assume take the title VP-U.S. advertising sales for the Redmond, Wash.-based software company.
Robin Domeniconi
Robin Domeniconi

Ms. Domeniconi, who will be based in New York, has a history of managing a stable of brands and products, something she'll have to do at Microsoft, whose ad-sales products include the Xbox Live gaming system, a portal, a search engine, an ad network, mobile ads, online software and services and display inventory on Facebook.

Generalist-specialist model
Over the past six months, Microsoft has put a big emphasis on what it calls a generalist-specialist sales model, where a central sales force sells all of the company's ad products, assisted by specialists in every area.

"Even if the business groups behind the sales force are spread across company, we funnel that activity through our sales force," said Bill Shaughnessy, VP-global sales and marketing at Microsoft. Ms. Domeniconi, he said, has "strong familiarity with this kind of model."

Ms. Domeniconi is, at heart, an operator, a role to which she said she looks forward to returning. She will report to Mr. Shaughnessy, who reports to Brian McAndrews, senior VP-advertisers and publisher services. Mr. McAndrews is part of a trio of online execs, including Yusuf Mehdi and Satya Nadella, who for now report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Microsoft is still seeking a replacement for Kevin Johnson, who oversaw Microsoft's online services business.

While Ms. Domeniconi may be a new name to the web-only world, she's well-known in the media world. Most recently she was an adviser at Avista Capital and before that she had a corporate role as president of the Media Group at Time, Inc., overseeing its 150 media brands. Prior to that she was the president-publisher of Real Simple magazine, where she expanded the magazine brand into TV, satellite radio, newspaper syndication, books, international editions and branded products.

"More than this being a digital company, I look at this as the kind of brand I was looking for to get back into operating," she said. "[Microsoft is] great that it's a digital company but it's a media company too and that was just as important."

Media crossover
There's a long history of executives moving from the magazine world to lead sales in the internet space: In 2001 former Yahoo exec Greg Coleman came from Reader's Digest and former Microsoft sales chief Joanne Bradford came to the software giant from Business Week. More recently, another Time Inc. vet, Eileen Naughton, landed at Google, where she is leading display and video ad sales.

"I didn't want us to limit our search of the type of candidate we wanted to uncover," Mr. Shaughnessy said. "At Avista she had a lot of experience thinking through digital experiences for traditional media, and she had at Time Inc. and Real Simple experience with both online and offline."
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