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Microsoft hires former Clinton adviser Penn as corporate VP

The former adviser to Bill Clinton will join Microsoft as a corporate VP in charge of strategic and special projects, reporting to CEO Steve Ballmer.

Mark Penn
Mark Penn

Microsoft has hired a new vice president with strong ties to Washington and public relations.

Mark Penn will join the company as corporate vice president for strategic and special projects. Leading a small team focused on "key consumer initiatives," Penn will report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft will rely on its new hire's experience in "strategic development, branding, and positioning" to come up with "breakthrough" ideas designed to meet consumers' changing needs, the company said today.

Dubbed "one of the best-known political and campaign strategists in Washington" according to The Hill, Penn was an adviser and pollster for President Clinton and acted as campaign manager for Hillary Clinton's senatorial and presidential campaigns.

To join Microsoft, Penn will leave his current post as the global CEO of public relations agency Burson-Marsteller. Penn has also been a consultant for several Fortune 500 companies and has consulted for Microsoft since 1998.

"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 statement. "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."