Microsoft fires Bing marketers after internal investigation

Sean Carver and Eric Hadley in a 2010 video interview at the Sundance Film Festival

Microsoft says it has terminated the employment of two people who helped to lead marketing for its Bing search engine: Eric Hadley, who was general manager of consumer marketing; and Sean Carver, who was director of consumer marketing in Microsoft’s Online Services Division.

A Microsoft spokesperson says in a statement, “We can confirm that as the result of an investigation, Eric Hadley and Sean Carver’s employment with Microsoft has been terminated for violation of company policies related to mismanagement of company assets and vendor procurement.”

Microsoft provided no further details about the investigation.

The two previously worked with Danielle Tiedt, who was recently hired by Google’s YouTube. Microsoft said in a previous statement that it had decided to “part ways” with Tiedt in a decision unrelated to her hiring by YouTube.

Hadley was profiled in a 2010 Daily Beast article that called him “Microsoft’s Mr. Fun,” picturing him with Jay-Z at a party thrown by Bing, and touting him as “the guy making Bing, if not all of Microsoft, cool.”

We’re trying to reach Carver and Hadley and will update this post if we do.

The two were known for creative efforts to market Bing using celebrities and parties at events including the Sundance Film Festival, fashion shows and sporting events. They were listed as executive producers on the film Para Fuera, a documentary about Dr. Richard Bing that was shown at Sundance. The company hosted a Bing Bar at Sundance this year.

Attention-grabbing promotions and experiments aren’t unprecedented at Microsoft, and it’s not clear if the decision to terminate their employment was related to anything that happened behind the scenes in the course of planning and presenting those types of events.

Mike Nichols, a Microsoft GM, will assume additional responsibilities on an interim basis as a result of their departure.

  • Roger

    That’ll be an interesting one to follow …

  • Anonymous

    “Mike Nichols, a Microsoft GM, will assume additional responsibilities on an interim basis as a result of their departure”  Mike Nicols is the brother in law of Danielle Tiedt.

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Just to clarify, for the record, my understanding is that’s no longer the case.

  • Dave

    Guessing the next step will be an arrest and indictment like Robert Curry last year.

  • Guest

    What is it about MS’s culture/controls that these things not only happen, but do so repeatedly?

    And hiring the brother-in-law of the former GM, on whose watch this occurred, really doesn’t say “we’re committed to cleaning this up”.

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      See my comment above, just to clarify your last point.

      • Guest

        Former or current, it’s ridiculous. Both yield a potential conflict of interest that isn’t required and shouldn’t have been introduced.

        MS’s talent bench should be more than deep enough to have offered an alternative unaffiliated in any way with  those previously involved.

  • Guest

    So what exactly did these two do to get yanked?

    • Guest

      Because “violation of company policies related to mismanagement of company assets and vendor procurement” wasn’t sufficiently clear?

      • Guest

        Clearly there’s more to the story than that.

        • Dave

          As corporate speak goes, this is relatively clear. Stole money, likely by setting up fake vendors to get paid for services that were never performed and that magically funneled the money back to them.  Maybe some theft and expense account fraud thrown in to boot. 

          • mark harmon

            you shouldn’t paint them with that brush…stealing money is a breaking the law..they broke no laws just company policy

          • Dave

            Mark, are you sure about that? “Vendor procurement” problem is typically code for they set up shell vendors. Fired for expense account violations would just draw a response of “we do not comment on employee related matters” from Microsoft.

          • Guest

            “they broke no laws just company policy”

            Says who? We know the latter because the company said so. The former is unknown at this time, unless of course you have some special insight here?

      • Anonymous

        No, that’s a completely vague and broad brush they’re using.  Want to bet the inside baseball is that they couldn’t turn up receipts for a lot of their expenses?   Probably some manager above them didn’t like them and wanted them gone.  Of course, it could be anything from the deeply mundane to hiring hookers for clients.

        • Guest

          Actually, like Dave said, it’s fairly clear for corporate speak. Indeed, it’s more specific that most.

          I doubt this is a political witch hunt over a couple minor misplaced receipts. It’s seems more likely that substantial abuses were uncovered, probably as a result of the new financial manager who was put into this division a few months back. That first resulted in the GM getting letting go, and now we have these two public firings for cause. 

          I wouldn’t be surprised if legal charges follow. Or maybe those were waived in return for them agreeing not to contest their firing.

           

  • Insider

    There is a lot of money missing in that group….  The reason for these investigations….

    • Guest

      Then MS should do a full audit, determine the exact amount lost due to fraud, advise shareholders of the total, and then file suit to recover it from those involved on behalf of said shareholders.

      I’d also like to know why none of their internal controls managed to catch this until after the fact, and what steps they’re taking to ensure it can’t happen again.

  • Harristweed3rd

    I think the true crime is that dude on the right stole a 21 year old programmer’s hoodie.

  • Guest

    Ah, kickbacks…  Happens in every company, even more in larger companies.
    Nothing unusual…

  • Tim Brick

    Looking forward to seeing Sean and Eric featured in the next issue of “What Were They Thinking?”

  • http://twitter.com/SoftwareWorlds SoftwareWorld

    Microsoft should not announce reasons for termination publicly. It is uncalled for.

  • Anonymous

    Bet it was something like eastern european “entertainment” being involved in some of these “promotions”…

  • http://geekworldnews.org/ How To Geek

    Thats really interesting

  • Bruce Lee

    Sean and Eric did a great job helping Bing to almost double it’s market share byt spending money on events that appeal to urban youth and trendsetters. It takes getting out from behind your cube to make things happen. MS is behind the times and needs to get with it on their marketing strategy. Stupid to fire these guys.

  • http://twitter.com/fijiaaron Aaron Evans

    Why not just fire them for horrible marketing

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gerard-Smith/1101468602 Gerard Smith

    What’s even more laughable is that they dump their garbage on Google!