Microsoft has made two separate systemic changes to its communications function: one focused on the company’s response to AI and the other on its approach to global communications.
In mid-July, Microsoft created a standalone team focused exclusively on helping the comms organization “reimagine its discipline in the age of AI,” said Microsoft chief communications officer Frank Shaw.
Steve Clayton, VP of comms strategy, is leading a team of 10 staffers and reporting to Shaw. Clayton was previously VP of public affairs; Brent Colburn is taking over that role.
Clayton’s team is supporting Microsoft with cutting-edge AI tools and resources, “infusing the breadth of our AI technologies across the comms function,” said Shaw.
The team will use the breadth of Microsoft’s AI technologies to enhance creativity, productivity and efficiency across measurement, reporting, media relations and more, Clayton said via email.
Clayton is also taking a leadership role in evangelizing Microsoft’s view of AI and serving as a company spokesperson on the topic, which includes sharing Microsoft’s insights on AI with comms organizations globally that are looking for guidance and support.
“New tech has represented a big change for every industry, and we want to make sure the comms function is leading how we can best use these new tools,” said Shaw.
This change comes after Shaw, in March, offered communications guidance amid a series of AI moves at the tech giant.
Separately, Microsoft has changed its global approach, with GM of global comms Doug Dawson leading and reporting to Shaw.
Dawson previously had the same title “but we have moved from a loosely federated model to a more centralized model,” Shaw said. Dawson has picked up accountability for Microsoft’s work in different countries and regions.
Previously, Microsoft had a regional approach and each country had a local manager. The model was optimized to support local sales and business needs.
Benjamin Lampe, senior director of global comms, is leading comms efforts in EMEA; Lauren Myers-Cavanagh, senior director of global comms, is heading comms in Asia; and Lisa Polloni, senior director of global comms, is leading comms in the Americas, which Microsoft defines as Latin America and Canada.
“A single, global communications organization will enable us to better meet the elevated expectations of our business and our brand, and truly put the 'world' into 'world-class,'” said Dawson via email.