Digital media executive Grant Watts will return to Microsoft as the Asia lead of the global search, display and services team, six year after he left the company.
The Australian, who was GM of Microsoft’s MSN and Windows Live businesses across Southeast Asia until January 2008, will return to Microsoft to take the job on March 3.
He will be based in Singapore.
Since departing Microsoft in Australia in 2008, Watts has established himself as one of Singapore’s most prominent digital media executives, most recently as head of advertising for Singapore’s regional telco giant SingTel.
He departed SingTel late last year as the company restructured its digital marketing operations, having joined the company in September 2012 when SingTel acquired advertising network Amobee where Watts was SVP and managing director. He had previously been the CEO for the ad network DMS Group for three and a half years.
As he returns to Microsoft Watts will take responsibility for driving the Yahoo Bing search alliance in the region. This will involve ensuring Yahoo is supported in how it sells and services Microsoft’s premium advertisers in Asia. It also involves sales, services and marketing for SME advertisers in Asia, and driving revenue for Bing.
Matt Lydon, general manager of SMB advertising at Microsoft, said in a statement: “We are thrilled to have Grant back at Microsoft, running our Search business in Asia and Greater China. Grant has tremendous drive and passion for the online advertising business and the impact we can have for our customers and partners.
“We are now operating the Yahoo Bing Network in India, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and operating Bing in China, Australia, and New Zealand. Grant will play a critical role in the continued growth of Microsoft’s online advertising business in the region.”
Watts has worked at Yahoo!, MSN, EyeCorp and IAB Singapore, of which he was a founding member, in a career that began in the ’90s with outdoor advertising firm Backlite Media.
He is currently a board member of the Mobile Marketing Association Asia Pacific and Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore.
A previous version of this story stated Grant Watts is returning to Australia in the new role. He is in fact staying in Singapore.