Microsoft will hire longtime Sony executive Phil Harrison to head up the studio's European operations, according to sources speaking to GamesIndustry.biz.
The unnamed tipsters say Harrison--formerly of Sony, Atari, and London Venture Partners--will join the Xbox 360 maker as head of Microsoft Game Studios Europe. An announcement through official channels is expected later today.
[UPDATE] Microsoft made Harrison's hiring official this morning. Harrison has joined the Interactive Entertainment Business team at Microsoft as corporate vice president. As part of leading Microsoft Studios Europe, he will oversee UK-based developers Lionhead Studios, Soho Productions, and Rare Ltd.
"Phil's role on the IEB leadership team is completely unrelated to Peter's departure," a Microsoft representative added. "Phil will lead Microsoft Studios' European organization, but will also influence the broader performance of IEB's European business. We will continue to rely on our stable of first-party developers as we determine if and when the Microsoft Studios Europe Creative Director vacancy should be filled. Peter's previous role as Lionhead Studio Manager is being filled by Lionhead COO Mark Webley."
Harrison spent 15 years at Sony Computer Entertainment, where he most notably held the position of president of worldwide studios.
Harrison has been employed as a general partner at London Venture Partners for the past two years. Prior to that, he served as president and board member at game publisher Atari.