How new Xbox president Sarah Bond embodies the positives of diverse leadership

BY Ben Ebuka Oji January 19, 2024 9:58 AM EDT
Sarah Bond
Sarah Bond. Credit: Essentially Sports

Formerly of McKinsey and T-Mobile, Sarah Bond is currently serving as the president of Xbox at Microsoft. Far from an overnight sensation at Microsoft’s gaming division, she has achieved remarkable success through a series of influential roles in the brand’s impressive annual revenue of $16 billion.

Since taking the helm at Xbox last October, Bond has set the tone for what could only be a bright future for Microsoft gaming. But even before that, her contributions to the acquisition of Activision Blizzard were instrumental in finalizing the deal and establishing her as a key figure in the future of the gaming industry.

Her presidency marks a significant milestone in Xbox’s journey and signifies a substantial leap in line with inclusivity and equity in the gaming sector. The company hopes that with her leadership, Xbox will navigate a thrilling path ahead that embraces inclusivity and reflects the diverse global gaming community.

Career Success

Born in 1978 in Morristown, New Jersey, Bond achieved remarkable success in her career. She graduated with a degree in Economics from Yale University and further pursued her education by obtaining an MBA from Harvard Business School. After completing her education, she spent a decade in the United Kingdom before returning to the United States.

Bond’s professional journey began as an associate partner at McKinsey & Company. Her dedication and hard work led her to join T-Mobile, where she served as the chief of staff to the CEO, John Legere. Her exceptional skills and expertise in corporate strategy and development propelled her to the position of senior vice president. She played a pivotal role in driving T-Mobile’s growth through various strategic initiatives.

Recognizing her exceptional talent in strategic planning and business development, Microsoft approached Bond. In 2017, she became a part of Microsoft. This move further solidified her reputation as a highly sought-after professional in the industry.

Initially, she assumed the role of a corporate vice president responsible for overseeing the development and partnerships of the gaming business at Xbox. Later on, she transitioned into the position of corporate vice president for game creator experience and ecosystem. In this capacity, she played a pivotal role in the success of Xbox Game Pass, a groundbreaking subscription service that transformed how people access and enjoy games. The immense popularity of Game Pass, boasting over 25 million subscribers, is a testament to Bond’s visionary and strategic leadership.

On October 26, 2023, following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Bond was appointed as the president of Xbox, reporting directly to Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming CEO. This historic appointment made her the first woman to hold such a prominent position in Xbox’s 22-year history.

“To manage the platform of today, and build the platform of tomorrow, we are bringing together the teams that will make this possible,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer shared in an internal memo, according to The Verge. “Sarah Bond will lead this team as President of Xbox — bringing together Devices, Player/Creator Experiences, Platform Engineering, Strategy, Business Planning, Data/Analytics, and Business Development.”

In her new position, Bond oversees Xbox’s hardware and software platforms and the complete Xbox ecosystem. Furthermore, she is responsible for spearheading the brand’s future, which may involve introducing a revamped disc-less Xbox Series X in 2024 and a next-generation hybrid console in 2028.

“Xbox. It’s an honor. Always,” Bond shared in a X post (formerly Twitter).

Other Endeavors

Beyond her role at Xbox, Bond holds positions on the Board of Councilors at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Board of Directors at the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Zuora, an innovative subscription management platform, and CHEGG, a prominent student-first connected education platform. These involvements further showcase her extensive knowledge and influence within the business and technology realm.

In conclusion, Bond’s journey to becoming the first female president of Xbox is a significant moment in the gaming industry and a noteworthy milestone for the global community. Her career trajectory inspires aspiring individuals, showcasing the rewards of hard work, dedication, and continuous learning. Bond exemplifies the potential to break barriers and achieve excellence in the gaming sector. Bond devotes her career to transforming cultures, restructuring organizations, driving business growth, and empowering others to uphold the same.