Scott Moore, who left Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) for Yahoo four years ago, is headed back to Redmond as GM and executive producer of the U.S. content business, according to a report by Kara Swisher that I have confirmed. The after-the-fact announcement should come Monday. Moore isn’t talking but I can tell you this represents a rapid change of course for the media exec, who left Yahoo last fall and will be responsible for most of the businesses he had before at Microsoft — as well as the celeb site being produced for MSN by his old boss at Yahoo, Lloyd Braun.
When we met just two weeks ago, Moore was leaning back, talking about a recent safari to Africa and about plans to move ahead with a local news/info start-up idea he had been noodling for a long time. In better days, he might have stayed the course. But it sounds like the combination of security and responsibility at Microsoft won out over the uncertainty of funding and then operating an ad-supported startup in the current environment. Also, Moore already was planning a return to Seattle for family reasons. If you aren’t doing a startup there, the options for media executives used to working with big corporations narrow down to one pretty quickly.
The odds were always higher on the likelihood of Moore winding up working for a big company again. In recent years, especially when money was easier to come by, I’ve heard a lot of execs talk about leaving the corporate world to become entrepreneurs. Nothing hard and fast to it, but the longer someone has been in the system, the less likely it is that person will leave for good — unless they can’t find a suitable spot. Moore was at Microsoft for a decade before he moved to Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO).
In title terms, it sounds like Moore is taking a hit — his last title at Yahoo was SVP and head of Yahoo Media — but much bigger Microsoft has a far different structure. He won’t be the top media person at Microsoft: when he starts in mid-March, he’ll be reporting to Greg Nelson, GM of MSN Global Media Group.
Moore was replaced at Yahoo by Jeff Dossett, who had been executive producer and GM for the MSN Media Network. Moore’s role at Microsoft is broader; it’s unclear who will be reporting to Moore, but I gather he will be responsible for MSNBC and MSN U.S. He concurrently was president of MSNBC.com and GM of the MSN programming group before going to Yahoo. More as warranted.