Microsoft Searching For New US Advertising Sales VP As 8-Year Vet Lorizio Departs

Keith Lorizio, vice president of sales and marketing for Microsoft's U.S. advertising business for the past three years, has left the company, CRN has learned.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed Lorizio's departure in an email Friday afternoon. Barry Dougan, Microsoft's general manager of global specialist sales, is running Microsoft's U.S. advertising sales on an interim basis, the spokesperson said.

Microsoft plans to "conduct a rigorous and thoughtful search for a permanent replacement" for Lorizio and will look at internal and external candidates, said the spokesperson.

[Related: Report: Microsoft Picks Nadella As CEO, May Replace Gates As Chairman ]

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The Microsoft spokesperson would not comment on the circumstances of Lorizio's departure or where he'll be heading next. Lorizio couldn't be reached for comment.

Lorizio joined Microsoft in 2006 from Yahoo where he was vice president of sales. He reported to Frank Holland, corporate vice president of Microsoft Advertising and Online, who reports to Microsoft COO Kevin Turner.

Lorizio's team is responsible for selling ads on MSN, the Microsoft Media Network, Xbox, and parts of Microsoft's search partnership with Yahoo, according to ClickZ, a marketing news blog.

Lorizio has been vocal about the advertising opportunities stemming from Windows 8 and Microsoft's devices and services strategy. In an widely cited October 2012 interview with Beet TV, he described Windows 8 as "a guaranteed success" and said 400 million Windows 8 devices would be in use within nine months.

In the interview, Lorizio also said Microsoft was aiming to have 100,000 apps on the Windows Store within three months, but that ended up taking eight months to happen.

Windows 8 flopped in the marketplace, though Windows 8.1 -- which has been described as a "do-over" -- appears to be doing better. Together, Windows 8 and 8.1 accounted for 10.5 percent of the worldwide desktop operating system market, according to NetMarketShare.

Lorizio is the latest well-known advertising executive to leave Microsoft in recent years. AdWeek, in an October 2012 article, raised questions about Microsoft's commitment to being in the online advertising business.

"All I have is resumes from Microsoft ad execs looking to get out," an anonymous digital media recruiter told AdWeek at the time.

In Microsoft's fiscal second quarter, online advertising revenue grew 6 percent year-over-year to $59 million. Search advertising jumped 34 percent, but display advertising revenue fell 32 percent.