Former Microsoft Executive Ed Bland Joins Unitus as Chief Operating Officer
Bland brings Fortune 100 business experience to Unitus leadership team
Redmond, WA—September 5, 2007—Unitus, Inc., a worldwide leader in scaling innovative solutions to global poverty, today announced that Ed Bland has joined the organization as Chief Operating Officer. Highly regarded for successfully launching Microsoft Xbox, Bland will play a key role in helping Unitus’s rapidly expanding portfolio of microfinance partners achieve continued double and triple digit growth.
As COO, Bland will help shape and execute Unitus’s high-growth strategy while ensuring that it remains an efficient, mission-focused organization. Leading a team of 47 world-class professionals in its Redmond and Bangalore, India, offices, Bland will oversee all aspects of Unitus’s operations, including the selection of new microfinance partners, development and delivery of innovative products and services to its portfolio network, and Unitus’s brand strategy and communications. Bland will also be responsible for overseeing core internal operations such as finance, facilities and human resources, to ensure the Unitus team is well-equipped with the necessary resources to bring economic opportunity to even more of the world’s working poor.
Prior to joining Unitus, Bland was a General Manager in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft, leading the global marketing efforts for Microsoft’s $2 billion games businesses. He launched Xbox 360 in North America, Europe and Japan in November 2005, gaining critical acclaim and commercial success. In addition, Bland led the U.S. sales team, which successfully launched the original Xbox in the U.S. in November 2001 and established that platform as a core element of Microsoft’s consumer strategy.
Previously at Microsoft, Bland was a Marketing Director in the Home & Retail Division, where he led all direct marketing relating to consumer software, hardware and e-commerce. Prior to this, Bland served as Group Product Manager of the Financial Products Group, where he managed U.S. sales and marketing activity for Microsoft’s personal finance software. Bland received numerous awards at Microsoft, including one given directly by Bill Gates for making valuable long-term contributions to Microsoft.
Bland holds an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management and a B.A. from Bowdoin College. He joins the growing ranks of experienced technology professionals putting their talents to work at Unitus. Others include:
- Derek Streat, Unitus VP of Microfinance Solutions, co-founder of Classmates.com
- Jonathan Weinstein, Unitus Director of Product Development, co-founder of Jobster.com
- Diana Reid, Unitus VP of Donor and Investor Relations, formerly of Microsoft and BEA Systems, and
- Sandra Winters, Unitus Director of Strategic Alliances, formerly of Real Networks and Microsoft
“I’m thrilled to be joining the Unitus team,” said Bland. “Microfinance is an incredibly powerful tool for harnessing business principles to create broad-scale social change. After exploring the industry, I realized that Unitus was the perfect fit for my experience, skills and values. I’m eager to work with this amazingly talented team to help create economic opportunity for millions around the world.”
Said Geoff Davis, President and CEO of Unitus: “We consider ourselves very fortunate to have an exceptional leader of Ed Bland’s caliber joining us. Ed had a lot of choices about where he could go next, and his desire to work at Unitus is a powerful statement about his personal commitment to making our world a better place. With Ed as COO, we’re excited about creating even greater impact in the fight against poverty.”
Unitus, Inc. is a worldwide leader at scaling innovative solutions to global poverty. Unitus accelerates access to life-changing financial services for those at the bottom of the economic pyramid – the 3 billion people who are living on less than $2 a day. We partner with the world’s most promising microfinance institutions and provide them with breakthrough business strategies, technology and access to capital that empower them to serve thousands more hardworking micro-entrepreneurs around the world. Unitus partners are adding new loan recipients eight times faster than the industry average. Our portfolio reaches more than 2.2 million families through 16 partners in Argentina, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines. Unitus has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and on National Public Radio, and received Fast Company magazine’s Social Capitalist Award in 2005 and 2006.