A top Microsoft Xbox marketing executive is leaving the company, prompting musical-chair changes in the management team.

The company said that Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of interactive entertainment marketing, is leaving the company for another opportunity. Interactive entertainment includes the Xbox and PC games businesses.

Just when the management team stabilized, Bell’s departure shows that Microsoft continues to have a revolving door in its game business. The change is the first big one since Peter Moore left Microsoft’s top games post last year to join Electronic Arts. He was replaced by former EA game studio chief Don Mattrick. Among Bell’s accomplishments were creating the marketing campaigns behind big hit Xbox 360 video games such as “Gears of War” and “Halo 3.”

Matt Barlow, Charlotte Stuyvenberg and Jim Merrick, all day-to-day product marketing and marketing communications people in the game business, will carry forward global marketing initiatives for the business group while Microsoft finds a permanent replacement.
Shane Kim, most recently the head of Microsoft Game Studios, will become corporate vice president for strategy and business development for interactive entertainment. That’s a new position. And Kim’s top deputy, Phil Spencer, will now become head of Microsoft Game studios. That means Spencer will be in charge of all game development for Microsoft’s internally produced Xbox 360 and PC games. That’s a critical job, as Spencer will greenlight the games that distinguish Microsoft’s video game console from its rivals.

The executives are key parts of the management team that reports to Don Mattrick, head of the interactive entertainment business at Microsoft. Mattrick reports to Robbie Bach, president of the company’s Entertainment & Devices group. Bell became the head of Xbox and PC game marketing in 2006.

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