Last March, Activision made a splash by hiring former Yahoo COO Dan Rosensweig to serve as president and CEO of Guitar Hero developer RedOctane. Today the publisher announced that Rosensweig's term of service with the company has ended, with the executive moving on "to pursue other career opportunities."
Rosensweig took the helm of the Guitar Hero business as the music genre was beginning a precipitous decline. Despite a flood of releases, including Guitar Hero 5, Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero: Van Halen, DJ Hero, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits, Band Hero, Rock Band: The Beatles, and Lego Rock Band, rhythm game sales were barely half what they were the year before. According to Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, US retail revenues from rhythm games totaled $876 million in 2009, down more than 47 percent from $1.66 billion the year before.
The executive's stint with Activision may be best remembered for a September interview in which he claimed Guitar Hero 5 was outselling rival The Beatles: Rock Band 4-to-1 in the US. The following month when the industry-tracking NPD Group released its figures, The Beatles: Rock Band was the best-selling rhythm game with 595,000 copies sold, compared to Guitar Hero 5's sales of 499,000.
Rosensweig's role at Activision will be filled by David Haddad, currently the COO of the Guitar Hero business unit. Before joining Activision, Haddad served as COO of Vivendi Games' Sierra Online division.
As for what other opportunities Rosensweig is pursuing, the executive is the new president and CEO of Chegg.com, an online textbook rental company. Looking to capitalize on frugal students who don't want to shell out for expensive course materials, the service lets users rent books by the semester or the quarter.