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Senior Xbox exec returning to Electronic Arts

John Schappert, who began his video game industry career at Electronic Arts, left the company in 2007 to be a corporate VP at Microsoft. He's now going back to EA as COO.

They say that the only way to really advance in a corporate organization is to leave it, and then return later.

Who knows what was really behind the recent career moves of John Schappert. But the current corporate vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment business, who oversees Microsoft Game Studios and Xbox Live, is returning to Electronic Arts as chief operating officer. He originally left the company in 2007.

John Schappert, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Interactive entertainment business, is returning to Electronic Arts after a two-year hiatus. Microsoft

In his earlier EA tenure, he was a software engineer and eventually held leadership positions on some of the publisher's biggest titles, including Madden NFL, NCAA Football, and EA's Tiger Woods golf games. He founded Tiburon Entertainment studio, which developed those games, in 1994. EA bought Tiburon in 1998.

At Microsoft, he took over responsibility for the Xbox Live software division, and there, also oversaw Microsoft Game Studios. That job included oversight for massive franchises like Halo, Gears of War, and Forza Motorsport.

Schappert is replacing departing COO John Pleasants, who will become chief executive of social game developer Playdom.

According to TechFlash, Microsoft has decided not to replace Schappert.

"Instead of replacing John, Marc Whitten and Phil Spencer will lead their respective businesses, Live Services and Microsoft Game Studios, reporting directly to Don Mattrick," Microsoft told TechFlash in a statement. Mattrick is Microsoft senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business, Entertainment and Devices Division. "Microsoft has complete confidence in the leadership of Marc and Phil and that their teams will remain focused and on track as we ramp up for this holiday."