Activision Taps Ex Yahoo COO to Head “Guitar Hero”

Activision Blizzard Inc. has appointed former Yahoo chief operating officer Dan Rosensweig chief executive officer of RedOctane, which develops the multi-billion dollar Guitar Hero franchise, according to several reports.

Rosensweig, who will oversee game development, hardware manufacturing, logistics and marketing, replaces Kai Huang, RedOctane’s former chief executive responsible for co-creating Guitar Hero with his brother. Huang will continue working for RedOctane.

"Under the leadership of Kai and Charles, Guitar Hero established the music gaming genre and became a global phenomenon," said Mike Griffith. "With the addition of Dan's proven operational expertise and leadership, we will continue expanding the franchise's global footprint in new and innovative ways.

Guitar Hero sales have remained strong despite the recession, with sales of over $800 million during 2008, but analysts say 2009 will present a bigger challenge to the video game industry. Rosensweig will be in charge of developing other popular games in order to increase sales.

Rosensweig spent 18 years at Ziff Davis, including a stint as president of the company, before serving as Yahoo’s operating chief from 2002 to 2006, where he oversaw the search giant’s product development, marketing, and advertising sales.

"I am extremely excited for this opportunity to work with the talented Guitar Hero team, which has transformed the interactive entertainment landscape," said Rosensweig, according to PR Newswire. "With a platform and content that universally engages a wide range of audiences, Guitar Hero has incredible growth potential. I look forward to continuing to develop Guitar Hero into an even more successful enterprise."

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