Microsoft VP John Schappert is returning to his roots, taking the role of chief operating officer at Electronic Arts, where he began as a software engineer back in 1991.
Since leaving EA in 2007, Schappert has been a familiar face on team Xbox at Microsoft. He launched the online services division, which encompassed control of Xbox Live. He also looked after Microsoft Game Studios as corporate VP of the company's Interactive Entertainment Business, overseeing franchises like Halo
and Gears of War
He's also credited with leading the launch of the New Xbox Live Experience and the growth of the console's Live service base from 6 million to 20 million members.
Exiting EA COO John Pleasants is leaving the company to become CEO at social gaming company Playdom
, and Schappert will take the reins from him beginning July 14.
Schappert has made numerous contributions to EA over the course of his career -- "After nearly two decades working in or around this company, I’ve got EA in my blood," he says.
Schappert established Madden
developer Tiburon in 1994, which EA acquired in 1998. Beginning in 2002, he served as general manager of EA's British Columbia-based Burnaby Studio to oversee franchises like FIFA Soccer
and Need For Speed
, and ultimately served as executive VP of EA's Online Platform and Central Development Services Group.
"We are thrilled to welcome John Schappert back to EA," said EA CEO John Riccitiello. "He has a great track record as a leader and innovator in our industry. His years of experience with EA and in Microsoft’s Xbox business provide him great insight into recognizing what consumers want."
Schappert praised EA's focus on quality innovation, and says he's looking forward to rejoining the company and "helping grow the business on new platforms and in new markets.”