Strauss Zelnick is taking the reins of Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and BioShock game studio Take-Two Interactive as CEO Ben Feder steps down to travel with his family in Asia for “an extended period.”
“As a result of the team’s efforts, [Take-Two] today is in the strongest financial and operational condition in its history,” Feder said, in a statement. “Now that the company is in a position of strength and is poised for solid performance in the future, the time is right for me to honor certain commitments that I have made to my family.”
Strauss Zelnick is currently chairman of Take-Two’s board, and will take over the CEO position effective January 1, 2011. Feder will remain a partner in ZelnickMedia, the private equity firm run by Strauss Zelnick that controls Take-Two.
Feder become Take-Two’s CEO in 2007 as the company was struggling to recover from controversy surrounding the “Hot Coffee” patch to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that revealed sexually explicit content developer Rockstar had embedded in the game and not disclosed to reviewers. The financial damage from the game’s recall totaled nearly $25 million, and the company reached a settlement with the FTC and managed to avoid being fined. Zelnick and Feder also guided the company through a protracted hostile takeover attempt from gaming giant Electronic Arts in 2008 just as Grand Theft Auto IV was due to land at retailers.
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