Microsoft has replaced its previous head of Windows Phone marketing with a former McCann Worldgroup partner with telecom and advertising chops.
Microsoft quietly announced on March 19 that Thom Gruhler had been appointed the new Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Marketing. He is replacing Achim Berg, who was the most recent Windows Phone Marketing Vice President. Berg left that post in November 2011 to become head of Operator Channels at Microsoft. (Berg spearheads relationships with "operator, hoster, cable and media partners to create new business opportunities and bring innovative services and devices to consumers, small businesses and enterprise users.")
Gruhler's job is to run marketing, advertising and communications for Windows Phone. At McCann, most recently, Gruhler was the global managing partner of Telecom & Technology.
According to Microsoft's press release, Gruhler was the leader of McCann's Verizon business, leading the team that developed the “Can you hear me now?” campaign. He also oversaw relationships with other key McCann clients, including Mastercard, Kohl’s and McCann Worldgroup’s Sony Ericsson, the release said.
Gruhler is reporting to Terry Myerson, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed. Myerson, who had been leading engineering for the phone unit, became the Corporate Vice President in charge of Windows Phone in December 2011. He took that job when Microsoft moved Windows Phone division President Andy Lees to a new role, having something having to do with Windows Phone and Windows 8 in 2012.
Gruhler takes on his new job at a critical juncture for Windows Phone. Microsoft and its closest phone partner Nokia were supposed to have launched the "hero phone" Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T here in the U.S. on March 18. I know there are some out there who claim Microsoft never said this publicly, so there's no slippage. But there was an internal Microsoft roadmap (dated December 2011) with the March 18 date printed as plain as day on it for the Lumia 900 (codenamed "Ace"). Here's a small snap from the page I've seen about the Ace: