Jason Rubin in, Danny Bilson out at THQ

Naughty Dog co-founder named publisher's new president as exec VP of core games "is leaving to pursue other interests."


After months of upheaval, THQ is getting a change in leadership. The company today named Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin its new president and confirmed that its executive vice president of core games Danny Bilson is "leaving to pursue other interests."

Changes are afoot at THQ.
Changes are afoot at THQ.

Rubin left Naughty Dog in 2004, but before that he directed a number of the studio's early hits, including Crash Bandicoot and the Jak and Daxter series. After he left the developer, he went to work on a comic project called Iron and the Maiden, in addition to co-founding media mashup maker Flextor. That company was sold to Fox Interactive Media in 2007. Rubin will report to THQ's former president, current CEO and chairman Brian Farrell. THQ has also named Rubin's Flextor co-founder, Jason Kay, as its new chief strategy officer.

"The recent transformation of THQ into a creator of wholly-owned IP has placed it in a perfect position to leverage future trends in the game business," Rubin said in a prepared statement. "I look forward to working with the management team and board to realize the company's goals."

Jason Rubin, the new face of THQ?
Jason Rubin, the new face of THQ?

Bilson was appointed to his post with THQ in January of 2008. Prior to that, Bilson served as vice president of intellectual property development and creative director for Electronic Arts, where he worked on such brands as The Sims and Medal of Honor. His roots extend beyond gaming, as he was the executive producer of the Flash TV series in the early 1990s, and directed or wrote numerous episodes of Viper and The Sentinel.

THQ has had a difficult run of late, as the publisher is looking to divest itself of Tomonobu Itagaki's Devil's Third project citing profitability concerns. Earlier this year, the publisher laid off hundreds as part of a restructuring to exit the children's licensed game market, and then changed its long-awaited massively multiplayer online role-playing game Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online to a standard RPG in light of "changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO." That change led to 118 more layoffs.

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