To summarize: the division is restructuring to revolve around more senior members of staff who are focused on selling advertising solutions across its entire portfolio - which includes MSN, Bing, Xbox, Skype, Outlook and Windows 8 - rather than having big separate sales teams for the different verticals.
The elimination of the sales roles was first reported by Business Insider last week. The cuts affect Microsoft Advertising's global sales team in the US, UK, and other global offices and form part of largest sweep of job cuts in Microsoft's history announced this summer.
Business Insider has seen an email sent on Friday to senior advertising agency CEOs (read the full version below) from Microsoft Advertising corporate vice president of advertising and online Frank Holland. In it he says recent changes have been made so the division is "best able to align to the needs of our customer, our company and the industry."
The email announces that Bruno Fiorentini Junior has become the new head of Microsoft Advertising's global agencies and accounts team, with immediate effect. Prior to that he was Microsoft Advertising's senior director of strategy for the global accounts and agencies team.
Microsoft Advertising has also promoted Stephen Kim to lead the Microsoft Advertising worldwide marketing organization. He will report directly into Holland and will be responsible for driving worldwide trade marketing and consumer audience marketing for Microsoft Advertising. He was previously general manager of Microsoft Advertising's global creative solutions team.
Those promotions are in addition to the news last month that ad veteran and Publicis Group executive Bob Bejan was joining the organization to become its North America sales and marketing boss.
The email makes no mention of the layoffs, which the Wall Street Journal numbered at "several dozen," according to its sources. Microsoft would not confirm to Business Insider how deep the cuts go within the division.
Holland says in the email that the company is making a "fundamental shift" in how it serves its top global agencies and accounts in response to feedback asking for "simpler engagement with an empowered account team instead of a matrix of teams representing disparate product interests."
"First, we are empowering our local field organizations to drive your business holistically. Additionally, we are investing in a senior global agency team to collaborate with you around global agreements in leveraging Microsoft media, data, and technology assets that drive clear differentiation for both you and us in the media landscape," the email reads.
The closure of Microsoft Advertising has been expected for some time. The most recent promotions and appointments suggest the division is still something of a priority for Microsoft, even if the business is now a lot slimmer.
Microsoft is trying to reduce its total headcount by 18,000.
The cuts have also affected staff responsible for Microsoft's content portal, MSN. The platform was recently given a redesign and relaunched on October 1, and the site now acts more like an aggregator rather than focusing on original content.
A source told Business Insider recent lay-offs have included the majority of people who worked on monetizing the MSN platform, as well as a large chunk of MSN's editorial staff, around 150 roles in total.
Full email from Microsoft Advertising vice president of advertising and online Frank Holland to agency partners:
On top of Bob's announcement a few weeks ago, I am reaching out to share exciting leadership and operational changes we are implementing to ensure Microsoft Advertising is best able to align to the needs of our customers, our company, and the industry.
First, I am pleased to share that, effective immediately, Bruno Fiorentini Junior is the new head of Microsoft Advertising's Global Agencies and Accounts team. Bruno started in digital advertising 10 years ago and has a broad global background.
Bruno joined our organization in 2010 to lead our Australia, Asia Pacific and India businesses. Prior to Microsoft, he was the COO for Yahoo! Australia and the General Manager for Yahoo! Brazil, Chile and Argentina. He most recently led the strategy for our Global Sales team so he is deeply familiar with the business and the industry. He is from Brazil and is fluent in four languages. Bruno is a rising star in our organization and we are excited to have his passion, brains and experience become part of the new Microsoft Global Agencies Team.
Stephen Kim, whom you know well, has accepted to lead the Microsoft Advertising Worldwide Marketing organization under me. In his new role, Stephen will drive worldwide trade marketing and consumer audience marketing for Microsoft Advertising. Stephen's storytelling passion, deep industry background and experience working in close partnership with agencies, brands and publishers make him a great choice for this role.
I also want to share important operational changes we are making to accomplish two key objectives: simplification and customer relationships.
You, along with other partners, have told us you desire simpler engagement with an empowered account team instead of a matrix of teams representing disparate product interests. Additionally, our customers want us to become a true global marketing partner that can represent the entire Microsoft portfolio of solutions beyond media.
In response to this feedback, we are making a fundamental shift in how we service our top global agencies and accounts. First, we are empowering our local field organizations to drive your business holistically. Additionally, we are investing in a senior Global Agency Team to collaborate with you around global agreements leveraging Microsoft media, data, and technology assets that drive clear differentiation for both you and us in the media landscape.
My sales leaders will be following up directly with your teams regarding additional support specifics and areas/priorities where we are specifically focused during the transition. I have copied my team here and invite you to reach out to any of us if you have questions or concerns.
As a key partner, I wanted to be the first to share this news with you. I could not be prouder or more confident in the leaders of our organization and in the direction of our business. Advertising has never been more critical at Microsoft as it is key to help our company realize its vision: that every person on the planet has access to consumer services that empowers them to do more and achieve more.