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Ashley Highfield quits Microsoft, becomes Scotsman boss

Former iPlayer overlord gets £500k hello

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Ashley Highfield is leaving Microsoft following a management restructure at the company.

A replacement for Highfield has already been found. Microsoft has hired Andy Hart, who previously worked at Associated Northcliffe Digital.

He will head up the software vendor's advertising and online division in the UK.

A recent reorg at Microsoft meant Highfield's remit to oversee Microsoft's consumer and online wing – with responsibilty for Windows, Windows Mobile, advertising and the web – had effectively been downgraded.

The erstwhile digital media BBC exec is heading to newspaper publisher Johnston Press as the company's new CEO. That tenure begins in November, and – to ease him in – Highfield has been handed a hefty £500,000 share package.

Notable titles published by Johnston include The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post newspapers.

Highfield joined Microsoft in November 2008, after quitting his director of future media and technology role at the Beeb where he oversaw the development of the iPlayer, which took several years to complete and ran millions of pounds over budget. ®

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