After a string of high-profile ad-exec departures,Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has made a key hire: former Time Inc. vet Robin Domeniconi. Starting January 1, Domeniconi will serve as VP of U.S. ad sales, reporting to VP of global sales and marketing Bill Shaughnessy; she’ll oversee sales across MSFT’s roster of digital products, including MSN and Windows Live, Xbox LIVE, Live Search, and Facebook. The senior executives who have left MSFT recently include Kevin Johnson, President of Platforms and Services, and Digital Sales GM Lisa Utzschneider. While it’s clear that Domeniconi is not taking Johnson’s place, it’s not clear who will be reporting to her. A company spokesperson said that the hierarchy won’t be determined until she starts.
Domeniconi most recently served as a media and digital consultant to NY-based PE firm Avista Capital Partners, but she’s a Time veteran, having served as president of the publisher’s Media Group, as well as president and publisher of its Real Simple magazine. Prior to Time, she spent six years at *Meredith Corp.*, so MSFT is definitely getting a media and publishing industry insider. It’s a smart move, because MSFT’s ad team needs to be able to broker the kinds of massive ad sales deals that rivals like *Yahoo* and *Google* have already drafted with partners like Hearst and Publicis if it really wants to compete in the online advertising space.