] Microsoft confirmation added.
Phil Harrison, previously head of Sony Worldwide Studios, has joined Microsoft as the corporate vice president of its Interactive Entertainment Business, where he'll help grow its business in Europe.
It's a surprise move for the games industry veteran, who became best known for competing against Microsoft as president of SCE Worldwide Studios, before his role as Atari president.
The announcement comes just a week after Peter Molyneux revealed that he is resigning
from his positions as creative director for Microsoft Game Studios in Europe, and CEO of Microsoft subsidiary Lionhead (Fable
) -- Microsoft notes that Harrison's hiring is unrelated, and for a different position.
Lionhead's chief operating officer Mark Webley has taken over Molyneux's position as studio manager. Microsoft says it will continue to rely on its stable of first-party developers as it considers if and when it will seek a replacement for the European creative director position.
"We are honored to have Phil join a team that boasts a wealth of talent from across the industry," said Microsoft Studios corporate VP Phil Spencer in a statement. "... His experience overseeing global studios and deep industry relationships make him the ideal person to lead our European efforts."
Harrison will head up Xbox's European game development efforts, overseeing studios such as Lionhead Studios, Soho Productions and Rare. The executive is also known for his efforts in the online and mobile space, and has experience in new business models and technologies, Microsoft added.
Harrison has been a general partner at London Venture Partners for the last two years, investing in various game industry companies and initiatives.
He also joined the advisory board
for cloud gaming company Gaikai last year, offering his knowledge and insights into how the company will proceed into the future.