Blair Westlake has resigned from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) after ten years of service in the company. He was serving as the Vice President in the media and entertainment department. He leaves at a time when the company is undergoing various reconstruction changes.
In a statement he said that his main reason for handing in the resignation is the fact that Microsoft is heading in a different direction that does not really suit his skill set or expertise. He however did not specify the aspects that the new direction the company was taking that he felt he was unqualified for.
Westlake oversaw the group that was dealing with licensing movies as well as television shows for all the Microsoft products. This included the Xbox Live online entertainment service which was transformed into an entertainment hub for various media that went beyond just video games. All this was offered via the video game console.
He led the team to negotiating numerous deals with multichannel providers for users of Xbox. This is where they could be allow millions of TV viewers who are using a Xbox to use its motion controls and kinetic camera voice to interact with advertising and programming. This is the team that was also involved in the development of policy issues surrounding content and intellectual property. He will also be remembered as the executive who brought about deep knowledge of Hollywood that was divulged to Microsoft’s Redmond.
Before he joined Microsoft, Westlake has consulted for a number of media companies such as NBC Universal and Comcast Corp. He had the opportunity to serve as the chairman for Universal Television& Networks Group. Before landing a job here he had also served as an executive for 19 years with Universal Studios. He stated that he had the opportunity to work with a lot of professional and talented people from the time he began working at Microsoft.
He also said that he would really miss working at the company and all the interactions that he had been able to make. He particularly thanked Robbie Bach, Yusuf Mehdi, Hank Vigil and Will Pole saying they all has a positive and significant impact at the time when he worked at the company. He however believes that this was the best move to make as it would act in the best interest for all of the parties in question.
Since joining the company in 2004, Westlake and his team has been working hard towards making the Xbox a corner stone of the living room. This has led into a lot of revamping in the entertainment features it offers to ensure that it is the best in the industry and it retains the top position in the market. He had for a very long time been one of the leading champions of Microsoft’s entertainment and was also a highly respected executive who was looked up to by many. His contributions to the company will not be forgotten in the company for a long time and the person replacing him needs to put in a lot of effort to make sure he/she fits in his shoes or even becomes better than him in the long run.
Microsoft spokesman could however not be reached to make a comment on this but there are reports that say that they already have a list of people who are being considered for the job. These include people from the inside as well as the outside. This is something that is proving to be quite challenging according to a blog written by John Thompson a person who is believed to be behind the recruiting process. He wrote that they already had more than a hundred potential candidates where they are narrowing the list as the days go by. Some candidates they had considered declined the offer while some did not even contact them back.
Westlake’s resignation also comes just over 12 months of the hiring of President Nancy Tellem who worked for CBS as the new president of the entertainment and digital media. She was also the person who was in charge of overseeing the continuous development of the content and exclusive series of Xbox consoles. Microsoft is also tasked with finding the replacement for Steve Ballmer the CEO who announced his plans to retire last August.