Activision Hires Deutsch Executive to Lead Publishing

Activision Blizzard Inc., the world’s largest video-game company, hired advertising executive Eric Hirshberg to run its studios and publishing.

Hirshberg, 42, co-chief executive officer of Lowe & Partners’ Deutsch Los Angeles office, succeeds Vice Chairman Michael Griffith, who stepped down as publishing CEO in April. The appointment is effective Sept. 7, Santa Monica, California- based Activision said today in a statement.

Hirshberg helped create advertising and marketing strategies for Sony Corp.’s PlayStation division, DirecTV and handset maker HTC Corp. in his 13 years at Deutsch. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in an interview the new publishing chief brings knowledge of subscription-based entertainment and mobile content.

The publishing unit coordinates the development, marketing and sale of games. As head of the studios and product development, Hirshberg will have the task of rebuilding the team that delivers new installments of the “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” franchise.

Current and former employees of Activision’s Infinity Ward studio say they are owed $75 million to $125 million in bonuses and royalties related to the game, according to a complaint filed on April 27 in state court in Los Angeles. The parent company fired the two game designers who created the title, and other developers have joined them in creating a new studio.

Hirshberg will report to Thomas Tippl, chief operating officer.

Activision rose 29 cents to $11.41 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have gained 2.7 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at Cedwards28@bloomberg.net

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