Activision Blizzard announced today it’s hired marketing and advertising veteran Eric Hirshberg as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective on September 7.
Hirshberg will oversee Activision Publishing’s operational management including its studio, product development functions and consumer marketing activities.
He takes the position previously held by Mike Griffith, who last April switched over to Vice Chairman following his resignation and after the company restructured senior management positions back in March.
Hirshberg will report directly to Actvision COO Thomas Tippl.
“In contemplating the requirements for the role of Activision Publishing’s new CEO we believed it was vital to have a leader who was a dedicated gamer, inspired creative thinker, and possessed the ability to manage and lead creative talent in a manner that produced both superior products and provided superior shareholder returns,” stated Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard in the press release.
“Eric is unique in this regard. There was no one we could find who possessed the unique blend of skills that Eric brings to Activision.
“[His] experience helping to develop strategies for his clients like Sony’s PlayStation, Direct TV and HTC have given him unique exposure to video games, subscription-based entertainment and the delivery of mobile content.
“I have known him for a long time and Eric is one of those rare multi-talented people who managed to build a billion dollar business from the ground up in a difficult, competitive industry using his creative skills, passion for excellence, discipline and focus. He is one of the most inspiring people I know and I am excited that his energy, determination, and keen understanding of popular culture will be added to our extraordinarily talented team.”
Hirshberg joins Activision from Deutsch LA, where he was COO and CCO for 13 years, where the firm created marketing gems like Sony’s faux executive Kevin Butler.
Speaking with Kotaku, Hirshberg said he is unsure exactly what his plans are regarding Activision’s image with gamers, but he acknowledged it was an elephant in the room.
“I’m not in the building yet,” he said. “I only have my perceptions as a outsider to go on. I think that Activision, based on the number of great gaming experiences they have delivered, should be a more beloved brand than you would think they are by reading the core-gaming blogosphere.
“I think I will be helping to kind of find an equilibrium between that and the general tone of the public discourse.”
Without commenting on the Infinity Ward lawsuits, Hirshberg said the best way to deal with such scandals is to greet them head-on, citing as an example his work fixing Sony’s image after the Killzone 2 reveal fiasco.
“By walking right into the controversy we were able to turn the problem around,” he said. “The trick is to deal with this transparently and head on.
“In this day and age with such an engaged and passionate audience, the brand doesn’t belong to the company, it belongs to the consumers.”
Best of luck to him, then.