Blair Westlake Resigns from Microsoft

MIcrosoft Logo
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The former Universal TV chairman joined Microsoft in 2004

Blair Westlake has abruptly resigned from Microsoft, Variety has confirmed.

The former Universal television chairman joined Microsoft in 2004, to head media partnerships and oversaw the licensing of TV shows and movies for the company’s Xbox platforms. He was corporate VP of Microsoft’s Media and Entertainment Group.

“It has become clear to me that the organization is moving in a direction that does not fit either my expertise or my skill sets,” Westlake said in a statement on Wednesday, just days after he attended the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.

“Over the last few months Microsoft has been undergoing a large-scale reorganization,” said Westlake, who has spent the past 10 years at the company. “During that period, I have had the privilege of working with numerous talented and professional people. While I will miss their company and our interaction, I truly believe that this move is in the best interest of all parties concerned. I want to thank my talented and committed team, as well as Yusuf Mehdi, Robbie Bach, Will Poole and Hank Vigil, all of whom had a significant and positive impact on me during my tenure at Microsoft.”

SEE ALSO: Xbox One Is Still Stuck in Cable’s Orbit

Westlake’s resignation comes more than a year after Microsoft tapped longtime CBS president Nancy Tellem to serve as president of entertainment and digital media and oversee the development and production of exclusive series and other content to play on the Xbox videogame consoles.

It also occurs as Microsoft is readying to announce a new CEO to replace Steve Ballmer. It’s obviously yet unclear, until a new CEO is named, whether the executive will embrace entertainment or push Microsoft to focus more on hardware and software as it tries to further restructure its core businesses.

But Westlake had long been one of the biggest champions of online entertainment for Microsoft, and a well-respected executive that the company relied on to help turn the Xbox more into a hub for all forms of entertainment, not just video games.

He had previously served as chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group, and spent 19 years as an exec at Universal Studios, before consulting for Comcast and NBCU.

Westlake “made valuable contributions to the company and we wish him success in his future endeavors,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in confirming the exec’s departure.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 2

Leave a Reply

2 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Daniel Cowen says:

    Sure glad I found a way to use media on my Xbox One without Gold Membership. It’s called Miracast through HDMI In port. I’d gladly pay $60 for an adapter than to pay Microsoft $60 a year to use services I already pay for. This may be completely unrelated to the person who resigned nothing makes me more sick about Microsoft than their Gold Membership requirement to unbrick your $500 living room device. Xbox One is the biggest living room fail for a device that can’t do what a PS3 can do for your living room, and yes I said PS3 and not PS4 because they are having similar issues. So far last gen is better than the new current gen.

  2. jaster says:

    This article is pointless without saying what the direction is. One could assume that direction is astronger focus on first party games since for the last 4 years ms has focused more on media. If he’s expertise is media then why would he leave if the focus was staying with media?

More Digital News from Variety

Loading