The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has officially announced the departure of its founding president, Douglas Lowenstein, who is leaving to found a new investment industry trade association.
Rumors of Lowenstein's departure came as early as half a week ago, but now the ESA has confirmed that the group's president will be leaving the organization in early 2007 to begin the new trade association.
In recounting the accomplishments during Lowenstein's twelve year tenure, the ESA notes that industry revenues grew from about $3 billion to more than $10 billion, and that the association grew from two employees to 32 employees that tackled a number of industry related issues and programs, including anti-piracy enforcement and domestic and international intellectual property policy, to government and media relations and research.
Said Lowenstein, "I have been honored to represent the amazing companies of the ESA, to serve as their advocate and to be part of an industry which is having such a profound and positive effect on our culture and the world of entertainment. Like our industry, the ESA has grown and matured and is now stronger and more robust than ever before. The future of video games and its trade association is very bright indeed."
The ESA says the search to fill Mr. Lowenstein's replacement has begun, but has yet to comment on any likely prospects.
UPDATE: Reflecting on Lowenstein's contributions to the industry, Bo Andersen, president of the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) issued an official statement regarding today's news:
"Doug's mark will be felt in the entertainment industry for years to come. He has done a tremendous job creating ESA from scratch and building it into a positive and influential institution in the video game industry. Under his stewardship, ESA created the ESRB rating system, engaged in successful legislative and precedent-setting legal advocacy, facilitated a better understanding of the role of video games in our society and economy, and promoted the industry's products through its successful trade shows. Our industry owes him a great "thank you" for his leadership. EMA wishes him well as he moves to the next challenge in his career."