Marketing head oversaw several hit games

Microsoft is shaking up its videogame biz as head of global marketing Jeff Bell has ankled after less than two years on the job.

Company didn’t indicate the reasons for Bell’s departure or where he’ll be headed next. He joined Microsoft in 2006 from Chrysler to drive sales of the Xbox 360 console and all of the software giant’s internally produced games.

In that time, Microsoft has had several hit games, including “Gears of War” and “Halo 3,” but the Xbox 360 has lagged far behind the Nintendo Wii in sales and recently even lost its lead over Sony’s PlayStation 3. Company is believed to be particularly disappointed that it didn’t get a boost from the launch of “Grand Theft Auto IV” last month.

Microsoft is searching for a replacement for Bell, who will stay on through the summer to help with the transition.

In addition, Shane Kim, who was head of Microsoft Game Studios, which produces games exclusively for the Xbox 360 and Windows PCs, has taken on the newly created role of corporate VP of strategy and business development. He’ll be focusing on partnerships, external relationships and new growth strategies.

Phil Spencer, who had been in charge of Microsoft Game Studios Europe, is taking Kim’s old job.

Both report to Don Mattrick, senior VP of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business, who took that job last July when Peter Moore left to become head of EA Sports.

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