Tecmo loses its head

President Yoshimi Yasuda steps down for "personal reasons" in midst of legal battle with Ninja Gaiden creator Tomonobu Itagaki.

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It's been a tumultuous summer for Tecmo. Just as the publisher's Ninja Gaiden II for the Xbox 360 was arriving on store shelves, star developer Tomonobu Itagaki quit the company and announced his intention to sue his former employer for roughly $1.4 million. That was followed by a second lawsuit, this one filed by a pair of Tecmo employees upset over unpaid overtime.

That litigation is ongoing, but Tecmo now has to deal with another high-profile upheaval. A statement from the company today announced the resignation of company president Yoshimi Yasuda, effective on September 1.

Although Yasuda is a focal point of Itagaki's lawsuit, the company didn't indicate the spat as a contributing factor in the executive's departure. Instead, Yasuda is citing personal reasons. Replacing Yasuda at the top of the Tecmo brass will be Yasuharu Kakihara, the company's current chairman.

Itagaki claims that Yasuda refused to make good on promises of a completion bonus for the 2005 Xbox 360 fighting game Dead or Alive 4. Tecmo shares slid more than 10 percent overnight on the news of Itagaki's departure, despite reassurances from the publisher that new installments of the developer's signature series--Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive--were already underway.

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