Skype names ex-Microsoft executive marketing chief

Skype, the company that pioneered voice over internet protocol (VOIP) services, has appointed Saul Klein as vice-president of marketing.

Klein, the co-founder of online DVD rental company Video Island, will oversee Skype’s global marketing strategy and report to chief executive Niklas Zennström.

“Saul will centre his efforts on consistently delivering the Skype experience to our fast-growing user base, while continuing to build exciting new markets,” says Zennström.

Klein, a founding partner of management advisory network the Accelerator Group, is a former group programme manager for Web platform services at Microsoft.

He also served as senior vice-president of brand and strategy at Firefly Network before its acquisition by Microsoft. Prior to that, he was director of digital communications at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.

Klein stepped down as chief executive of Video Island in July and was replaced by former Dell director Simon Calver.

VOIP technology emerged two years ago when Scandinavian duo Zennström and Janus Friis joined forces to create Skype.

The duo invented a platform that allowed two users of its software to speak to each other free of charge using a broadband internet connection. Since then the technology has moved on to enable people to make calls to traditional landlines or mobile phones from their computers. Last week, Skype handed Albion a brief to boost its profile in the UK amid growing competition. Skype software has been downloaded 131 million times since its 2003 launch, and Microsoft, Google and BT have entered the market since.

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