Take-Two CEO stepping down to travel Asia

Ben Feder and his family plan to travel in Asia "for an extended period," the company says, and its chairman, Strauss Zelnick, will take over as chief executive.

Take-Two's Ben Feder will be departing as CEO at the end of the year.

According to Take-Two, Feder's decision to leave was rooted in his desire to "pursue plans to travel in Asia with his family for an extended period." Take-Two executive chairman Strauss Zelnick will take over the company as CEO effective January 1.

Feder became Take-Two's acting CEO and a board member in March 2007. In 2008, the company officially appointed him to the CEO post with a management agreement that extended through October 31, 2012. Prior to joining Take-Two, Feder was CEO of voice-messaging company MessageClick. He was also a senior executive at News Corp.

With his early departure, Feder leaves behind a company that has had trouble over the years weaving its way through the difficult gaming landscape.

Over the past four years, Take-Two generated a profit just once. In 2008, the company was in the black for $97.1 million on $1.54 billion in revenue. Much of that success was due to the launch of Grand Theft Auto IV . However, 2008 was flanked by steep losses in 2007 and 2009. During the company's last fiscal year, which ended on October 31, it generated $968 million in revenue and lost $137.9 million.

Recently, Take-Two announced plans to shift its fiscal year end from October 31 to March 31. However, the company still plans to report its past twelve months in December. Take-Two has generated $785 million in revenue during the first nine months of its fiscal year, and posted an $11.19 million loss.

At the same time, Take-Two is being dwarfed in the gaming space. The company's top competitors, Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard, each generate about $3 billion to $4 billion in revenue annually. Like Take-Two, Electronic Arts has suffered some difficult years, posting a $1 billion loss in 2009 and a $677 million loss in 2010. Activision Blizzard was in the black last year, generating a $113 million profit. In 2008, it lost $107 million.

Take-Two shares are up 1 percent in early trading.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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