MSN in UK shake-up

MSN UK has promoted Chris Ward, formerly commercial director, to deputy director. Ward is running MSN UK while UK director Gillian Kent is on maternity leave.

Ward’s functions will be taken over by Michael Steckler, formerly head of client sales, who is being promoted to head of agency sales.

However, an MSN UK spokeswoman claims the promotions are temporary, for the duration of Kent’s absence. What happens when she returns has apparently not been decided.

The company, which operates what is claimed to be the UK’s most-visited internet portal,, is also seeking to fill two high-level positions within its agency sales team as part of a major restructuring of the media sales department.

Agency sales manager Jonathan Baron has been promoted to MSN Asia regional sales manager, and MSN UK is looking for a replacement for him. In addition, the new position of online evangelist has been created, answering to Baron’s replacement. The online evangelist will concentrate on developing relationships with high-level agency contacts in traditional media, creative and strategic agencies, as well as at interactive and digital agencies.

The objective will be to generate new revenue streams from certain target industries, notably packaged goods, finance, automotive and entertainment.

The restructuring of the media sales department also sees the creation of a sales strategy and planning team, which will support the existing advertising operations, agency, direct client and digital marketing teams. This team will be headed by Penny Barnes, formerly client development manager.

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