Jim Wilson heads to Atari

Former Sony BMG exec joins Phil Harrison on publisher's executive team as president and CEO.

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It's no secret that Atari has been on the ropes for the past couple of years. However, the publisher and its parent company have announced several steps in recent weeks to return the beleaguered brand to its former position of prominence. Kicking off this month, Infogrames named former Sony Computer Entertainment president of worldwide publishing Phil Harrison as its new president and general director. That move was followed days later by Infogrames issuing a letter of intent to purchase all of Atari's outstanding stocks to take the publisher private.

Today, Atari and Infogrames made their next move in the road to recovery, announcing that fellow Sony alum Jim Wilson will join Harrison in the publishers' executive ranks as CEO and president of Atari, effectively immediately. Wilson steps into the position vacated by David Pierce, who bid the company au revoir in November after just one year at its head.

Wilson boasts an extensive 15-year track record at the executive level in the gaming and entertainment industry. Most recently, Wilson served as executive VP and general manager of Sony BMG's home entertainment business, overseeing development of products from partners such as Sesame Workshop, World Wrestling Entertainment, and Classic Media. Prior to Sony BMG, Wilson oversaw the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon licenses as president of Universal Interactive. Following Vivendi's acquisition of Universal, Wilson transitioned into the role of executive president/general manager of worldwide studios for Vivendi Universal Games.

"Atari, Inc., with its world-renowned brand and strong library of game franchises, has a tremendous opportunity in North America. I look forward to working with the Atari team and shareholders to lead Atari, Inc. into its next phase of growth," said Wilson in a statement.

As with Harrison, Wilson will have his work cut out for him. Following a string of setbacks, which include a number of NASDAQ delisting threats, shrinking revenues, and nonexistent profits, Atari itself expressed last year uncertainty over uncertainty over its "ability to continue as a going concern." However, the publisher has signaled that a change in winds may be afoot, saying today that it "entered into a series of transactions with its majority shareholder, Infogrames Entertainment, aimed at stabilizing and focusing the company's distribution efforts," and that it had reestablished a $14 million line of credit with BlueBay High Yield Investments.

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