Chris Dobson to ‘leave’ Microsoft

So ‘Dobbo’ has finally been pushed out.

I know Chris Dobson quite well, and know the trouble he faced working with the faceless American corporation which never really grasped the idea of brand.

He survived the ‘dropping’ of MSN as a brand, and various attempts to reinvent Microsoft’s online business;

First, when MSN was to become a software services company, selling subscription products and advertising revenue was to be the icing on the subscription cake.  Meanwhile, Chris plodded away, building an incredibly well regarded and profitable brand advertising business.  The subscription business died quickly.

Next up, Microsoft were to get all their revenue from search.  The brand business was kicked, suffering from the loss of a huge revenue stream when they were forced to drop a very lucrative deal with Overture and adopt the new Microsoft AdCenter instead.  The Overture deal had been signed before the Yahoo purchase and would have been valuable to Microsoft but unprofitable for Yahoo, but Microsoft were happy to let Yahoo off the hook, and take a huge hit themselves.  Despite this, Chris continued to run a tight ship and make increasingly unrealistic targets.

So he’s rumoured to be going to BBC Worldwide, where his old MSN chum Tom Bowman went a year ago.  It’ll be interesting to see what position he takes up there.  The US’s loss is the UK’s gain.


2 Responses to Chris Dobson to ‘leave’ Microsoft

  1. ukdigital says:

    To confirm, Chris is going to BBC Worldwide, where he’ll head up Global Advertising Sales across all media (Tom is responsible for Online Media sales, so it’s safe to assume he’ll be reporting to Chris again).

  2. Chris Charlton says:

    I thought your readers would like to know what role Chris will be undertaking at BBC Worldwide. His appointment has been confirmed today.

    Dobson to join BBC Worldwide as EVP & General Manager Global Ad Sales

    BBC Worldwide today confirmed that Chris Dobson is to join the BBC’s commercial arm as Executive VP and General Manager Global Ad Sales.

    Dobson will have a global remit to oversee advertising activity across BBC Worldwide’s channels and online business as well as BBC World News and will act as liaison for internal stakeholders across these platforms.

    The appointment builds on the work undertaken twelve months ago when in-house advertising sales teams across online, channels and news were brought together for the first time under the leadership of Jonathan Howlett (RoW) and Mark Gall (US) as a result of the launch of, the creation of an in-house sales team for BBC America and the rollout of BBC Worldwide’s channel portfolio. Howlett and Gall will now report to Dobson, when he joins on 6th October.

    By having a bespoke in-house ad sales force which is driven by audience, BBC Worldwide hopes to generate increased revenues from around the world, which can then be returned to the BBC to invest in programming.

    Darren Childs, to whom Dobson reports, commented: “Chris brings with him a strong background in both traditional linear media and a pioneering role in digital while at MSN. He is one of the most experienced and successful leaders in this field, and his appointment is a signal of our commitment to growing our ad sales business. We’ve listened to agencies and clients who are looking to simplify the buying process across multiple platforms with a single conversation with BBC Worldwide and this is how we are responding to them.”

    Chris Dobson added: “The world of media is changing but one constant is the core need for top quality content delivered across multiple platforms to suit rapidly changing consumer needs. BBC Worldwide provides flagship BBC content to a global quality audience and the chance to lead the next level of advertising sales development across both pan regional and national TV as well as online for one of the world’s premier media brands is a unique opportunity that I’m very excited to take on.”

    Dobson joins BBC Worldwide from Microsoft where he was Acting General Manager for Microsoft’s UK online business as well as VP Global Advertising Sales. Holding increasingly senior sales roles during his seven year tenure, Dobson led a sales team of up to 600 people and is credited with growing Microsoft’s advertising revenues by more than 500%. Prior to Microsoft, Dobson was European New Business director at leading media agency ZenithOptimedia, a role he took up after leaving MTV where he held a variety of sales management roles – culminating in VP Sales – from 1994 to 2000.

    He began his media career at ITV’s Thames TV in 1987, having spent his first working years on the client side in a range of marketing and business development roles in the automotive industry.

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