Lee exiting Microsoft post

Keyed firm's entertainment efforts

One of Microsoft Corp.'s top media executives is stepping down.

Bryan Lee, corporate vp for the entertainment business, is leaving within the next few weeks, the company said Wednesday. He was responsible for driving the business strategy for Microsoft's entertainment efforts in television, music and video, including the company's Zune portable music player.

Lee cited a desire to spend more time with family as the reason for his departure.

"I hired Bryan back in 2000 to drive business development for Xbox, and over the last six years I've had the luxury of repeatedly asking Bryan to take on greater responsibility and leadership and then watching him deliver," said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division. "I want to extend my thanks to Bryan from the company and from me personally for all of his contributions to Microsoft."

As CFO of Microsoft's Home and Entertainment Group when he joined the company in 2000, Lee negotiated deals with key partners for the Xbox video game system. In addition to Zune, he spearheaded the company's eHome Group, which produces Windows XP Media Center Edition and the first deployments of Microsoft's IPTV software with major service providers worldwide.

Before working at Microsoft, Lee spent 13 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. as executive vp business affairs.

Lee's exit has paved the way for Xbox co-creator J Allard, corporate vp design and development in the entertainment and devices division, to oversee the Zune business.

Joe Belfiore, corporate vp entertainment and devices in the eHome division, and Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vp in the TV division, who both reported to Lee, will now report to Bach.

John Gaudiosi contributed to this report.