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Mark Penn

Microsoft has named Mark Penn, the former CEO of  public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and former CEO of the polling firm Penn Schoen Berland, to the position of corporate vice president of strategic and special projects. Penn will focus on consumer efforts, reporting to CEO Steve Ballmer.

“Mark has an incredible background in research, demographics, marketing and positioning and a proven history in developing unique insights that drive success,” Ballmer said in a press release. “With a strong set of products and an exciting pipeline for the next year, Mark’s experience and out-of-the-box thinking will help us more effectively reach new consumers and grow market share.”

A consultant for Microsoft since 1998, the 58-year-old Penn also has worked for clients such as Ford Motor Company, Merck & Co., Intel and McDonald’s. He’s the author of the best seller “Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes,” and the former campaign manager of Hillary Clinton.

“I’m looking forward to applying my diverse skills and experience to some of the biggest new challenges in technology today, and there is no better place to do that than Microsoft,” said Penn who plans to work from D.C.

A contributor to Time magazine, Huffington Post and The Atlantic, Penn may be best known for identifying “Soccer Moms” as a critical demographic bloc.

Here’s the key question: Can he get more “Soccer Moms” buying Microsoft products?

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