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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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September 12, 2008 11:23 AM

Microsoft ad exec reportedly heading for Amazon

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The New York Post reported today that Lisa Utzschneider, a Microsoft advertising sales executive, is moving to Amazon.com as senior vice president of national ad sales. The Post cites e-mails announcing the move sent Thursday.

Utzschneider, according to a brief biography of her posted on the site of a consultancy with which she is involved, handled some major accounts for Microsoft:

"Lisa currently manages multiple national sales organizations (Search, Performance and Inside Sales) and the Account Services Group (ASG). ASG focuses on delivering excellent customer service for [Microsoft Digital Advertising Sollutions'] top display advertisers. Prior to ASG, Lisa was MSN Sales Director for the Eastern Region, which was one of the largest regions globally. She was responsible for three district offices based in New York City, Atlanta and Boston which specialized in online advertising sales for categories such as Consumer Packaged Goods, Pharmaceutical, and Wireless, as well as managing agency relationships. Lisa has led strategic and organizational changes which have, in part, contributed to increased customer satisfaction and double digit revenue growth over the years. During her 9+ years at Microsoft, Lisa has championed key initiatives in the areas of advertising product development, sales strategy, and driving industry standards in online advertising. In 2006, Lisa received the Microsoft Chairman's Award and the Circle of Excellence Award."

In 2006, Utzschneider got a shout out from former Microsoft ad boss Joanne Bradford, who left Microsoft earlier this year and landed at Yahoo earlier this week. "Lisa Utzschneider does the work of really helping push forward the industry and hiring young people into the advertising business," Bradford said in a speech Sept. 27, 2006 at Advertising Week in New York.

I'm seeking comment from Microsoft and Amazon. (Update, 12:25 p.m.: A Microsoft spokesman confirmed Utzchneider's departure.)

The Post's story quotes an analyst reading Utzschneider's hiring as a sign that Amazon is planning to ramp up its advertising efforts. Third-party ad revenue is thought to be a tiny portion of the company's revenues currently.

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