Longtime media executive Blair Westlake is leaving Microsoft

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, left, is pictured with Blair Westlake, Microsoft's vice president of media and entertainment. Westlake has announced he is leaving the software company.
(Kevin P. Casey / For the Los Angeles Times)

Blair Westlake, Microsoft Corp.’s longtime vice president of media and entertainment, is leaving the software company after a decade, as the troubled technology giant undergoes a restructuring.

“As the reorganization has unfolded, it has become clear to me that the organization is moving in a direction that does not fit either my expertise or skill sets,” Westlake said in a statement. “Therefore, I have made the decision to leave Microsoft.”

Westlake oversaw the group that licensed movies and television shows for Microsoft products, including the Xbox Live online entertainment service offered through the video game console. The team also has been involved in policy issues surrounding intellectual property and content protection technology.


FACES TO WATCH 2014: Digital media

The executive brought a deep knowledge of Hollywood to Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., campus. Before joining the company, he had consulted for various media companies, including Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal. Previously, he served as chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group and, before that, worked for 19 years as an executive with Universal Studios.

“I have had the privilege of working with numerous talented and professional people,” Westlake said of his tenure at Microsoft. “While I will miss their company and our interaction, I truly believe that this move is in the best interest of all parties concerned.”

A spokesman for Microsoft could not immediately be reached for comment.

Microsoft has been undergoing a period of upheaval since last summer, when Chief Executive Steve Ballmer announced his plans to retire. Many saw Ballmer’s departure as creating an opportunity for the technology company, which still rules the desktop, to reinvent itself for a world that is increasingly mobile.


Net neutrality ruling has implications for telecoms, Hollywood


CBS renews daytime shows, including “The Young and the Restless”

NFL’s plans for new Thursday night package is not without challenges


ON LOCATION: People and places behind what’s onscreen

PHOTOS: Biggest box office flops of 2013

PHOTOS: Celebrity production companies