After three years as the head of Microsoft Australia, Paul Houghton has been sent packing to the US, with the company announcing today that Steve Vamos has been appointed managing director of the software company. Vamos moves to the position from the role of CEO at ninemsn. The five years at ninemsn followed significant experience in IT marketing, business and executive roles. Vamos first began working in the IT industry as a marketing support assistant at IBM Australia, ending his 14 years with the company as the general manager of its PC division. The stint at IBM was followed by 4 years at Apple Australia, during which time he took on the role of the company's Australian managing director. Unlike Houghton, who had been with Microsoft for seven years prior to his Australian posting, Vamos does not work directly for the software company. Nevertheless, he has close ties to Microsoft due to the fact that ninemsn is a joint venture between Publishing and Broadcasting Limited's online investment arm, ecorp, and Microsoft. Vamos described his appointment by Microsoft as a "safe bet". "I have been part of this company for over five years," he said in reference to his close work with Microsoft senior executives as well his attendance at major partner conferences in the US during this period. "I am not an unknown quantity," he added. He did not disclose whether his appointment was a direct result of the visit last week by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "This has a lot to do with a lot of people from Microsoft," he said. The newly appointed MD did not say too much about his vision for the company. He said his first priority was to get to know the people and "build and work on the great work they have done". Vamos will officially take up the role on February 1, 2003. In the meantime he will continue in his role as chief executive at ninemsn. A replacement for him at ninemsn is currently being sought. Houghton will continue in the role of Microsoft MD until the end of January. After that he will return to the US to take up the position of vice president, US South Region.
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