Atari CEO resigns

Publisher licenses Test Drive franchise to its parent company as chief restructuring officer takes the reins on an interim basis.

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Atari is looking to change its bad fortunes of late, but it will have to start by changing its leadership. The company announced today that CEO David Pierce has resigned his position with the company and a search is on the way for a successor. Pierce ends his run at the helm of Atari after just over a year on the job.

Taking over the CEO role on an interim basis will be the company's chief restructuring officer, Curtis G. Solsvig III. No explanation was given for Pierce's departure, but the chairman of the publisher's board wished him well and expressed appreciation for his "support and commitment through a difficult period in the company's history."

Speaking of that difficult period, the company also announced part of its plan to turn things around, including the licensing of its Test Drive series to its parent company Infogrames. Under the terms of the deal, Atari will receive a $5 million advance on royalties and Infogrames gets the license for a six-year term, during which the company will make and sell at least two new releases.

As has been noted before, the company no longer owns any internal development studios. In today's announcement, Atari specified that it "will refocus its operations on publishing and distribution in North America, completing its withdrawal from the production business."

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