Doug Lowenstein, president of the Electronic Software Association (ESA), will leave his post as president in early 2007, according to an executive at an ESA member organization. According to the source, ESA members were informed of the news late last week. A public announcement was to have been made this week, but will not surface until after the weekend. Lowenstein leaves an organization still reeling from the decision to radically downsize the group's marquee event, the annual E3 Expo trade show.
According to various sources, Lowenstein has accepted a position with a still-forming trade organization that would represent a consortium of investment community firms. Lowenstein is expected to remain with the ESA through at least February 2007. As of press time, ESA reps could not be reached to confirm the news, nor had IDG staff returned e-mails asking to comment on how this might effect the upcoming E3 Media Festival.
Lowenstein founded the ESA precursor, the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA), in April 1994. The IDSA was renamed Electronic Software Association in 2003, though its mission remains the same--to represent the North American game industry on Capitol Hill, advocate for strong antipiracy legislation worldwide, and support the ESA-created Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the nonprofit group that rates games with content descriptors.