The head of Microsoft's mobile phone group is jumping ship to Vodafone, where he will run the mobile operator's internet services. Pieter Knook will join Vodafone on March 10, where he will lead a new unit delivering consumer internet services.

Knook's replacement as head of Microsoft's mobile communications business is likely to be Andrew Lees, currently with the company's server and tools group, according to the The Wall Street Journal, which cited a person familiar with the situation. Both Knook and Lees are Microsoft veterans, working with the company since 1990.

There will be other staff changes at Microsoft, with three other vice presidents expected to leave in the coming months, the WSJ report said. It named Michael Sievert, currently in charge of Windows marketing, and Steve Berkowitz, a manager of the company's online business, as among those who will leave.

Vodafone said Knook's arrival will allow it to move forward with its 'Mobile Plus' strategy to generate new revenue streams such as mobile advertising and integrated mobile and PC offerings.

Microsoft representatives could not be immediately reached for comment.