David Pierce Joins Atari as President and CEO

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Company News-M&A

Davidpierce_ceo_2Atari has finally filled the vacancy at its top executive post, hiring David Pierce as President and CEO of the videogame company, which has entered into a transitional period. Pierce comes from Hollywood, where he spent 20 years in executive positions with companies like Universal Pictures, MGM, Sony Pictures and Sony Music Entertainment. Bruno Bonnell, who previously served as CEO, now holds the title of Chairman and Chief Creative Officer at Atari. Bonnell will work with Pierce in steering the new company as it tries to rebuild itself after a few years of disappointing games and the recent sales of some of its studios and game franchises.

As Executive Vice President and General Manager, Pierce spearheaded the complete restructuring and turnaround of Sony Wonder, a division of SONY BMG Music Entertainment. Under his leadership, the company achieved record revenue and multiple years of record profits. Prior to Sony Wonder, Pierce was the Senior Vice President of Columbia Tristar Home Video, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, from 1989 through 1994.  Pierce was recruited to help devise and execute a complete reorganization of the company.  Specific areas of focus included the reorganization of personnel, establishing sound financial controls, development of distribution strategies and establishing sales and marketing initiatives. Over a five-year period, Pierce increased revenues, achieved record net contribution results and developed strategic distribution relationships with several leading entertainment companies including Sony Electronic Publishing, Epic Home Video and New Line Pictures. In 1984, Pierce was recruited by New World Pictures to launch the company’s video division, New World Home Entertainment. Through unique advertising campaigns and creative sales promotion, he established New World as the industry leader amongst independent production companies. 

At a recent press event in Las Vegas, an Atari spokesperson told me that moving forward, the game company will position itself as an entertainment company. It makes sense for an executive from Hollywood to spearhead this new direction. While Atari has invested heavily in the past into Hollywood licensed, especially with its purchase of Shiny Entertainment and "The Matrix" game license, the game company has steered away from Holywood-licensed games lately. That said, the company is releasing games based on the upcoming Luc Besson CGI feature film, "Arthur and the Minimoys."

Moving forward, Atari will focus more on games that make use of online digital distribution, like the new Xbox 360 and PC game, "Test Drive Unlimited," which will allows the game maker to generate revenue through the sale of additional cars, tracks, music and other content through Xbox Live's Marketplace.

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