Jeff Bell Departs Microsoft, Shane Kim Gets Promotion

Microsoft Game Studio's head Shane Kim is getting bumped up to corporate vice president of Strategy and Business Development, a new position in Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, and Jeff Bell is leaving the company, Microsoft announced today.

Kim, who headed up the studio for four years, will be replaced by Phil Spencer, who formerly headed up the Microsoft Game Studios in Europe.

"We're strategically positioning the leadership team to drive every aspect of the Xbox business to new heights," said Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business. "I firmly believe that Microsoft will lead the next great innovations in games and entertainment. Today's organizational announcements align us to accelerate this expansive growth."

Microsoft has not yet found a replacement for Bell who is said to be leaving to "pursue other opportunities outside of Microsoft."

"The time is right for me to pursue my life's passion of consumer brand marketing and the creative and services that drive it." Bell said "Coming from automotive, and now technology and entertainment, I am excited to expand to new industries and categories."

Hit the jump for the full release and more Mattrick-y quotes.

Interactive Entertainment Business Leadership Team Positioned to Drive Next Wave of Growth and Audience Expansion

Microsoft announces new leadership roles for Shane Kim and Phil Spencer and the departure of Jeff Bell.

REDMOND, Wash. - June 12, 2008 - Microsoft Corp. today announced a new leadership structure in its Interactive Entertainment Business, assembled to align with future business development opportunities.

Shane Kim will assume the role of corporate vice president of Strategy and Business Development, a newly established role in Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business. In addition, Phil Spencer, a Microsoft Game Studios veteran for six years, will assume leadership of all first-party development and publishing efforts worldwide. Both leaders will report directly to Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business.

After spending four and a half years leading the transformation of Microsoft Game Studios into a world-class entertainment publisher, Kim will now explore new growth opportunities with partners across all parts of the global Interactive Entertainment Business. His focus will be on future external relationships and partnerships, as well as developing growth strategies for the entire business.

Formerly the general manager of Microsoft Game Studios Europe, Spencer will return to Redmond from the U.K.to take on his new role as general manager of the global Microsoft Game Studios business. Spencer will oversee the creation of new, unannounced franchises that aim to attract new audiences. His teams will foster some of today's most beloved entertainment franchises, including "Halo," "Gears of War" and "Fable," by continuing to partner with the industry's best developers to deliver the best games for the Windows and Xbox platforms.

"We're strategically positioning the leadership team to drive every aspect of the Xbox business to new heights," Mattrick said. "I firmly believe that Microsoft will lead the next great innovations in games and entertainment. Today's organizational announcements align us to accelerate this expansive growth."

After two years of driving a cultural change in the way Microsoft markets its entertainment brands, Jeff Bell, current corporate vice president of Global Marketing for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, has decided to pursue other opportunities outside Microsoft. Bell will remain at Microsoft through the summer, working with Mattrick to ensure a smooth transition of his responsibilities. In the interim while Microsoft searches for Bell's replacement, Matt Barlow, Charlotte Stuyvenberg and Jim Merrick, all day-to-day product marketing and marketing communications leaders in the Interactive Entertainment Business, will carry forward global marketing initiatives for the business group.

"The time is right for me to pursue my life's passion of consumer brand marketing and the creative and services that drive it." Bell said "Coming from automotive, and now technology and entertainment, I am excited to expand to new industries and categories."

"We thank Jeff for his achievements and contributions to Microsoft and the Xbox business. His innovative marketing programs included award-winning Xbox brand marketing campaigns, as well as world-renowned creative for ‘Gears of War' and ‘Halo 3,'" Mattrick said. "We wish Jeff nothing but the best in his future endeavors."