He replaces Peter Bale, who previously was executive producer for MSN and then international programming director. Bale has left MSN to join CNN in the newly created role of vice-president and general manager of CNN International Digital.
Clifton joins after 15 years at the BBC, where, most recently, he was head of editorial development, multimedia journalism, for nearly two years. Before this, he was head of BBC News Interactive, the department responsible for the main news site and news to mobile phones, text on TV, interactive TV and outdoor spaces.
He was also launch editor for the BBC Sport site in 2000. His post at the BBC closed at the end of March, as part of a restructure at the corporation.
Clifton, who will join MSN on 18 April, will lead the 50-strong editorial team and oversee strategy, partnerships and content on the MSN platform. He will report directly to Ashley Highfield, UK managing director at Microsoft consumer and online.
Microsoft claims that MSN, which sits within Microsoft’s consumer and online division, receives 24 million unique visitors a month in the UK.
The year has seen some high-profile departures from Microsoft Advertising. Carolyn Everson, vice-president of ad sales at Microsoft Advertising, left in February to join Facebook as vice-president of global sales.
Meanwhile, Chris Maples, former commercial director for Microsoft Advertising in the UK left the company in January, and is expected to be appointed as UK managing director at Spotify later this month.