Longtime Microsoft executive and Chief Product Officer for the Xbox Team, Marc Whitten, has announced his departure from the company today. Whitten will now assume a role as Chief Executive Officer at Sonos, the audio-focused consumer electronics company.
While an exact reason for Whitten’s departure is not given, his official statement stresses a genuine fondness for his 14-year run at Microsoft. Whitten was an instrumental piece of the Xbox team’s puzzle, helping launching two extremely successful consoles in the span of just a few years. And, of course, Whitten was instrumental in the successful launch of the Xbox One in November of last year, serving as the platform’s Chief Architect.
What’s more interesting about this news, though, is that it comes less than a week after Sony’s Jack Tretton stepped down from his role as CEO. We’re obviously not implying that the two decisions are connected, but their close proximity to each other and major console launches suggests a desire to change scenery.
For Tretton that meant a leap into the unknown, while Whitten’s immediate future walks hand in hand with his departure. He will now use his knowledge at Microsoft to help Sonos stake their claim in the audio market, or maybe even beyond.
Here’s Whitten’s official line on his leaving:
“I have had the extreme pleasure over the last 14 years to work on the greatest product with the greatest team and for the greatest community. Xbox is so special because of the amazing team I’ve had the opportunity to work with and because our fans are the most incredible fans on the planet. It has been the highlight of my career to work on a product so loved. It’s incredibly tough to leave but I am confident the best days are ahead for Xbox fans, in the capable hands of a very talented team.”
It’s also worth mentioning that this is not the only major departure for Microsoft in the past 12 months. President of Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick and CEO Steve Ballmer both left the company in the summer of last year. Mattrick is now the CEO of Zynga, while Ballmer is likely enjoying some time to relax.
So what does it all mean? Why all these departures? Likely nothing, but it’s still hard not to see a growing trend among big executives, especially in companies that just shipped major consoles. Obviously, getting a console out to the masses was a grind and, at least for Microsoft, there were some bumps along the road, but the fact that both consoles are selling well suggests these vacancies were personal decisions.
We’ll keep you posed when Microsoft announces Whitten’s replacement.
Are you surprised to hear that Marc Whitten is leaving Microsoft? Do you think there is some larger reason behind his departure?
Source: Xbox Wire