Memo: Microsoft online vet Mehdi moving to Xbox business

Yusuf Mehdi

Yusuf Mehdi, the longest-running executive in Microsoft’s Online Services Division, is leaving the division but remaining with the company, shifting to a new role heading up marketing for the company’s Xbox and video games business.

The changed was announced internally at the company this morning in a memo from Qi Lu, the president of the Online Services Division, obtained by GeekWire. The move comes as Microsoft’s unprofitable online division tries to leverage its search and advertising partnership with Yahoo to gain ground on Google.

Mehdi will report to Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business, in his new role as the chief marketing officer for that business. Mehdi is effectively filling a vacancy created by the planned retirement of Michael Delman, corporate vice president of global marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business, at the end of this year.

Here’s the full text of the memo …

From: Qi Lu

Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 11:04 AM

Subject: OSD Organizational Announcement

Hi Everyone,

This email is to inform you that Yusuf Mehdi, Chief Audience Officer for OSD, will be moving on to a new and exciting chapter in his career, working for Don Mattrick, President of the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), as the Chief Marketing Officer for IEB, effective 12/05/2011.

Yusuf and I have been discussing his career plan for several months, and we both felt with OSD and OABG’s success and momentum, the time is right for Yusuf to take on a new challenge for Microsoft.  With more than ten years of service in Microsoft’s online services businesses, he has been a trusted adviser, a great leader of people, and has helped get us to where we are today in OSD. We are fortunate to have had Yusuf be an important part of OSD for the past ten years, and are equally fortunate that he is staying close, helping IEB continue its great momentum as it becomes a global entertainment brand for Microsoft.

Throughout my tenure at OSD, Yusuf has been a key member of the OSD LT and a trusted partner, from whom I have learned a tremendous amount about marketing, the industry, and Microsoft. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Yusuf and I am confident he will do an amazing job for Don, and continue to be a great partner to OSD and a great advocate for Bing and MSN.

Yusuf has been involved with leading Microsoft Online Services businesses longer than anyone else on the OSD LT, and has been a pivotal leader at critical milestones of our division’s journey from the early days of MSN, to the original MSN and Live Search products, to the launch of Bing and the consummation of key strategic deals for OSD and MS, including Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter and Nokia.  Most importantly, he has built a world class marketing, business development, strategy, and product management organization that has made incredible contributions to the success of OSD and Microsoft.  I want to take this opportunity to express my heart-felt thanks to Yusuf for everything he has done for OSD.

I have asked each of Yusuf’s direct reports to step up their contribution to help lead through this transition period.  On an interim basis, all of Yusuf’s directs will now report into me.  I have also asked that Mike Nichols help with coordination of the OABG ROB and represent OABG at the OSD LT level, in addition to maintaining his current responsibilities as GM of Bing Product Management.

Please join me in congratulating Yusuf in his new role, thanking him for his many contributions to Online, and wishing him all the best.

Thanks.

-Qi

  • http://blog.calbucci.com/ Marcelo Calbucci

    Congrats Yusuf.

  • Guest

    “and we both felt with OSD and OABG’s success and momentum”

    What success and momentum? Bing’s previous consistent growth over the past year, which they were happy to tout, has now clearly stalled. It’s been flat or negative for the last three consecutive reporting periods according to comScore and others. Their display advertising share continues to decline, even as Google and even Facebook grow theirs, leaving MS in distant fourth place behind Google, FB, Yahoo, and just above AOL.

    Does he mean the slight decrease in losses last quarter? Is that what MS leadership is currently deluding themselves into thinking of as “success”?

    And why would Xbox need Mehdi on the marketing side? Xbox is the only business unit in MS not in dire need of a marketing intervention.

  • Guest

    “and we both felt with OSD and OABG’s success and momentum”

    What success and momentum? Bing’s previous consistent growth over the past year, which they were happy to tout, has now clearly stalled. It’s been flat or negative for the last three consecutive reporting periods according to comScore and others. Their display advertising share continues to decline, even as Google and even Facebook grow theirs, leaving MS in distant fourth place behind Google, FB, Yahoo, and just above AOL.

    Does he mean the slight decrease in losses last quarter? Is that what MS leadership is currently deluding themselves into thinking of as “success”?

    And why would Xbox need Mehdi on the marketing side? Xbox is the only business unit in MS not in dire need of a marketing intervention.

  • Guest

    Matt Rosoff has an interesting if predictably biased take on this.