Microsoft Corp. has appointed Mark Penn as Corporate Vice President, strategic and special projects, with an emphasis on key consumer initiatives for the company. Penn will lead a small interdisciplinary team and report to Microsoft 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. “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.”
Penn, 58, is currently the worldwide CEO of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and CEO of the polling firm Penn Schoen Berland LLC. He has been active in national and international politics at the highest levels and has served as strategic consultant to top Fortune 500 companies, including Ford Motor Company, Merck & Co. Inc., Intel Corp. and McDonald’s. He has consulted with Microsoft since 1998.
In addition, Penn is the author of “Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes,” a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller about the impact of small groups in politics, business and social change, building on his original identification of the “Soccer Moms” as a critical demographic bloc. He has also been a regular contributor to national publications such as TIME Magazine, Huffington Post and The Atlantic.