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MSN UK boss Kent leaves as Microsoft creates new online business unit

LONDON - MSN UK country manager Gillian Kent is parting company with the internet portal after eight years as Microsoft creates a new online services unit to be headed by Sharon Baylay.

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Kent, who has been country manager of the group for the last three years, helped Microsoft's MSN to build its position in the UK with over 17m customers each month and has established MSN as one of the UK's leading media companies.

She has overseen the growth of the UK organisation from 60 to 150 people and pioneered MSN's work on child safety. In addition, Kent won the Working Families' Employer of the Year for Innovation in 2004 for her work on MSN UK's working practices.

Last year, Kent was voted the Blackberry Technology Woman of the Year in the private sector. Prior to joining MSN, she launched and managed Microsoft's first consumer software products in the UK.

Baylay has been appointed to the new role of general manager, Microsoft Online Services Group, UK, which includes running MSN.

She assumes overall responsibility for running Microsoft Online Services business in the UK, reporting to Bill Shaughnessy general manager of field operations at Microsoft Online Services Group. 

Microsoft's Online Services Group comprises the Windows Live and MSN businesses.

Baylay takes up the post following three years running the MSN business in Asia Pacific, Greater China and the Americas where she was responsible for overseeing business development in these countries, as well as implementing investment strategies for emerging markets to help extend MSN's lead in global reach.

Shaughnessy said: "Gillian has made a great contribution and successful career working on Microsoft's emerging businesses. I would like to thank Gillian for her contribution and service with Microsoft, and her strong leadership of MSN."

He added: "The introduction of the General Manager role is an important step forward for the UK business.  We’re confident Sharon will lead the next chapter in our development and continue our strong revenue growth."

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