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Visual Studio Team System Head Leaves Microsoft

Taking over for Rick LaPlante is outsider Andrew Kass, most recently an executive at a financial applications vendor.

Microsoft's Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) development head Rick LaPlante has resigned after an 18-year career at Microsoft, a company spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

Taking over from him as general manager of VSTS will be outside hire Andrew Kass, who most recently served as senior vice president of product development at S1, an Atlanta-based financial industry enterprise applications maker.

LaPlante, currently on an extended vacation, is leaving to pursue personal interests, according to Microsoft. When he returns, he will spend several months working on the VSTS transition with Kass, who starts his new job in June.

LaPlante's move comes at a transitional point for his group, which shipped Visual Studio Team System in November after six years of development. The release marked a new approach by Microsoft for its Visual Studio tools, emphasizing the different roles -- like developer, architect, tester and project manager -- involved in software development projects. In March, Microsoft released the last major component of VSTS, Team Foundation Server.

Microsoft plans to continue adding role-specific editions to the VSTS lineup, though which specific roles will be tackled next remains undecided. In an interview last month, LaPlante said his team would take a bit of a breather after Team Foundation Server's release, then dive into the project of drawing up the next set of VSTS development road maps.

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