Microsoft restructures commercial and publishing arm

LONDON - Microsoft has unveiled a major restructure of its commercial and publishing operations.

Ward: commercial director for Microsoft
Ward: commercial director for Microsoft

The company has overhauled its Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) group under Ashley Highfield, who was recently appointed managing director and vice-president, consumer and online, from Kangaroo.

The group, formed following the acquisition of aQuantive in 2007, will see the integration of Microsoft's sales teams, including DrivePM, Atlas Publisher Tools, ScreenTonic and Massive, to promote the full Microsoft Advertising portfolio.

The restructured group, aimed at simplifying Microsoft's sales offering, will be headed by Chris Ward, Microsoft's commercial director.

Since joining Microsoft in 1996, Ward has helped shape the commercial arm of the firm's consumer and online business, building the sales team into one of the leading sales houses in the UK. The UK APS team has now grown to more than 200 people.

The announcement today also sees the creation of a UK APS Leadership team, including: UK APS director of publisher sales, Jana Eisenstein; UK APS marketing director, Nickie Smith; and UK APS sales director, Chris Maples.

Ward said: "The completed integration of our sales team under this new structure allows us to have one very powerful voice in the market.

"We're better equipped at all levels of the organisation to interact with our clients and deliver them even greater value. We've already received strong industry endorsement with the publication of the latest Digital Media Owners Image Survey from the IPA, which shows a 10% increase in overall satisfaction with our service levels.

"This is a great accolade and something which, with this new business structure, we will seek to build on moving forward."

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