Microsoft announced last week the firings of two high-profile Bing execs after an internal investigation showed Eric Hadley and Sean Carver had violated “company policies related to mismanagement of company assets and vendor procurement,” according to Microsoft.
The company declined to elaborate on that statement last week and today. Hadley, general manager of marketing at Bing, and Carver, director of brand entertainment at Bing, could not be reached for comment either last week or today.
Now, AdvertisingAge’s Kunur Patel reports that the internal investigation had turned up a list of violations including “problems with line items and dates on purchase orders related to the three-story Bing Bar in Park City, Utah — Microsoft’s’s celeb hangout during the Sundance Film Festival.”
Other problems AdAge reported included a $1 million-plus fee the Bing marketing team paid Co Collective, not a Microsoft-approved vendor, through the Razorfish agency, and a first-class flight taken by Carver.
Hadley and Carver had worked on high-profile, buzz-generating campaigns to raise public awareness of Bing as a search alternative to Google. Hadley, in particular, is well known in the advertising world with his award-winning work.
AdAge reports that that the terminations may indicate a shift in marketing direction for Bing:
At Bing’s outset, Microsoft signaled that no price was too high to win at search, but with procurement violations pushing out the architects of the work that’s gotten Bing noticed, that may no longer be the case.