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Microsoft names new marketing chief

A week after announcing the retirement of longtime marketing boss Mich Mathews, Microsoft moves quickly to replace her with another company veteran, Chris Capossela.

Just a week after announcing the retirement of its top marketing boss, Microsoft has replaced her.

The software giant announced today that Chris Capossela, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, will become senior vice president of the Consumer Channels and Central Marketing Group.

Microsoft's Chris Capossela Microsoft

Capossela will oversee all of Microsoft's marketing, advertising and public relations. He replaces Mich Mathews, herself a 20-year veteran of Microsoft who spent more than half that time as marketing chief. While BrandFinance has ranked Microsoft as the second most valuable brand in the world, behind Google, Microsoft's image has suffered as it has lost ground in consumer markets to hipper products.

Most recently, Capossela served at senior vice president of Microsoft's Office division. In that position, he oversaw the marketing of its dominant Office suite of productivity applications, as well as of its Exchange e-mail software and its SharePoint collaboration product. Capossela was one of the executives responsible for beginning to process of making Office products more Web-based, such as its Office Web Apps and Office 365 services.

A month ago, Capossela left his previous job in Office for a position to be determined, replaced by Kirk Koenigsbauer. A Boston native, Capossela has worked for Microsoft since graduating from Harvard. He will work alongside Mathews to transition into his new job until she leaves this summer.

Despite his long career at Microsoft, Capossela may forever be best known outside Redmond for running a demo that cratered during Bill Gates' speech at spring Comdex in 1998. Capossela plugged a scanner into a Windows 98 PC, which subsequently crashed and flashed the infamous blue screen of death.

"That must be why we're not shipping Windows 98 yet," Gates joked that day.