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New Infogrames CEO Promises Turnaround For Atari

| 15 Feb 2008 15:07
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David Gardner, the newly installed CEO of Atari parent Infogrames, says the U.S. branch of the company won't be sold off despite its ongoing financial hemorrhaging.

"It's true it has lost plenty of money," Gardner said in a brief interview with MCV. "We don't directly control the U.S. because they have their own Board of Directors and management, and from a business point of view, it hasn't always proven to be ideal."

"We can't just take the decisions we want to take and we have to respect what the team says," he continued. "They have to sort out that problem, we can't sort it for them. They've got a new Board and a chief restructuring officer and they're looking for a new CEO as well. It's moving in the right direction."

The U.S. branch of Atari has faced increasing difficulties in recent years, including mounting financial losses, multiple NASDAQ delisting notices and the loss of key game properties. The company was forced to take a $10 million loan from Infogrames to maintain operations, following a layoff of 20 percent of its workforce over the summer. Atari also announced it would no longer be developing games, and would instead function solely as a publisher and distributor.

Gardner, a former Electronic Arts executive, took over as Infogrames CEO on January 1, following the sudden resignation of former CEO Patrick Leleu. Commenting on his appointment, he said, "I had a dream to work for Atari when I played Star Raiders in 1979. When you form such a powerful emotional relationship with a brand it can stay with you for your entire life. My goal is to help rebuild that passion around the company."

"Over the coming months we want to work hard at showing the potential for what this renewed team can do and how it will excite gamers once again," he added. "Atari's history is that of a world-class brand and I want to work with our team to create a world-class company."

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