Infogrames has announced it has accepted the resignation of chairman and CEO Patrick Leleu, appointing veteran Electronic Arts executive David Gardner in his place.
Gardner served as executive VP and COO of EA's worldwide studios since 2005, prior to which he was senior VP of international publishing at the company, also holding various other directorial roles -- including supporting the establishment of EA Europe -- since joining the company in 1983.
According to the announcement, Gardner will assume responsibility for the company's "new vision," and will be implementing a transformative strategic program. Gardner will also relaunch Infogrames' publishing initiatives and focus on improving global distribution for the company, which has struggled
in recent months to restructure and halt mounting losses.
Infogrames says that BlueBay Asset Management representative Gina Germano, who also sits on the company's board along with another BlueBay representative, led the selection process of the new CEO. BlueBay is a significant investor in the company, and given a recent bond issuance, the group stands to assume
60 percent ownership in the event those bonds are transferred into shares.
Additionally, Infogrames named a new board chairman, Michael Combes, and a new vice-chairman, Dominique D'Hinnin, in conjunction with Gardner's appointment.
Said Gardner, “I had a dream to work for Atari when I played Star Raiders
in 1979. When you form such a powerful emotional relationship with a brand it can stay with you for your entire life. My goal is to help rebuild that passion around the company. First, with the employees and then very quickly to spread it virally on the Internet to millions of new customers. Remember that Infogrames was one of Europe’s first gaming companies. I have a personal challenge to create a world-class company that is European in flavor but reaches global markets."
He concluded, "This will take some time. of course, but here we have fantastic gaming DNA formed at the birth of the industry, access to creative talent and a company with the working capital to make the necessary investments to realize this vision. Over the coming months we want to work hard at showing the potential for what this renewed team can do and how it will excite gamers once again. Atari’s history is that of a world-class brand and I want to work with our team to create a world-class company."