Microsoft has hired a new team member with an interesting political past. The company announced today that it has brought in Mark Penn to be its new Corporate Vice President in charge of Strategic and Special Projects.
In a press release, Microsoft said:
At Microsoft, Penn will lead a cross-functional team focused on consumer initiatives and will draw on his experience in strategic development, branding and positioning to develop and deliver breakthrough ideas that meet consumers’ changing and dynamic needs.
Penn will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. However, he will be based primarily in Washington DC. Previous to his new job at Microsoft, Penn was the worldwide CEO of the public relations firm Burson-Marstelle.
However, Penn's past work in the political world may be more interesting. The Hill website reports that he is considered one of the "best-known political and campaign strategists in Washington." Indeed, he served as an adviser to Bill Clinton while he was President. Later, he was a campaign manager for Bill's wife Hillary Clinton during her successful US Senate campaign and her unsuccessful run for the US Presidency.
Microsoft seemed to anticipate some people's questions about whether Penn will help the company with Washington-based political affairs, saying, "He will continue to write about consumer, demographic and social trends but will not be involved in public policy issues for Microsoft."
Source: Microsoft press release