Blair Westlake, a 10-year Microsoft (MSFT) veteran and longtime entertainment industry specialist, who, as Media and Entertainment Group corporate vice president headed the vendor’s media partnerships and licensing of TV shows and movies, has abruptly resigned his position, according to reports in Variety and the Seattle Times.

DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

January 17, 2014

2 Min Read
Top Microsoft Media and Entertainment Exec Departs

Blair Westlake, a 10-year Microsoft (MSFT) veteran and longtime entertainment industry specialist, who, as Media and Entertainment Group corporate vice president, headed the vendor’s media partnerships and licensing of TV shows and movies, has abruptly resigned his position, according to reports in Variety and the Seattle Times.

Westlake’s exit from Microsoft comes about a year after the company hired Nancy Tellem, a former CBS president, as the Media and Entertainment Group’s president. According to his LinkedIn profile, Westlake handled business development and content licensing with the entertainment industry for Xbox and Windows-based PCs, Surface tablets and Windows Phone.

In a statement to Variety, Westlake raised the question of the future direction of the Media and Entertainment Group, especially with Microsoft mulling a new chief executive to replace Steve Ballmer.

“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.

“Over the last few months Microsoft has been undergoing a large-scale reorganization,” he said. “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.”

Westlake is credited with interacting with the TV, film and music industries to widen the Xbox platform’s appeal beyond video games to new forms of entertainment. But with Microsoft pushing original content programming to Xbox, he appeared uncertain over his future role.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed his departure from the company, saying he’d “made valuable contributions to the company and we wish him success in his future endeavors.” There was no word from the vendor on its plans to fill Westlake’s slot.

Westlake’s background is highlighted by a 19-year run at Universal Studios, where he served as chairman of its television and networks group.

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About the Author(s)

DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

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