Microsoft names Mark Penn corporate VP

Longtime Democratic pollster Mark Penn is leaving the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller to join Microsoft.

Penn, who served as the top strategist for then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, will step into the role of corporate vice president, strategic and special projects at Microsoft, the company announced on Thursday. 

According to a Microsoft press release detailing the move, "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 not be involved in public policy work for Microsoft, according to the company, and while he will be based in D.C., Penn "will spend substantial time" in Redmond, Wash., where the company is based. 

Replacing Penn at Burson-Marsteller is former White House Communications Director Donald Baer who has been named worldwide CEO at the PR firm. Baer has been with Burson for the past four years and has also served as chairman of Burson-Marsteller’s sister firm Penn Schoen Berland. Baer will continue in that role, according to the firm. 

“I am excited to continue building Burson-Marsteller as the most creative and effective results-oriented, ideas-driven communications and public relations firm in the world,” Baer said in a news release Thursday announcing the move.

In the same release, Penn called Baer “my trusted adviser and a strong contributor to our success" since he joined the firm four years ago. “He has a full sense of the firm’s culture, operations, and great potential, and I feel confident about the future of Burson-Marsteller as I leave it in Don’s capable hands,” Penn said. 

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