Midway Games seeking CEO

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Sumner Redstone-controlled Midway Games is looking for a new CEO as it struggles to become profitable and develop into a major industry player.

The video game company said Thursday that Matthew Booty, who most recently served as senior vp worldwide studios at Midway, has been named interim CEO and president. The Midway board has started a search for a full-time successor. David Zucker, a former ESPN executive who had been CEO since May 2003, is leaving the firm.

The company's CFO and head of sales resigned this year. Analysts said this opens up a chance for a broad-based makeover of the management team.

Midway's recent performance and the lack of thanks for Zucker's contributions in the news release indicate that the firm's owners are looking for aggressive changes and financial improvements.

"Midway has struggled with its game portfolio, consistently incurring significant losses in its operations," Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter said in summarizing Zucker's reign. "The company has made little progress in growing its revenues to a level that we believe will generate consistent profits, and its stock has continued to depreciate, losing two-thirds of its value in the last eight months."

Midway chair Shari Redstone, daughter of Viacom and CBS Corp. controlling shareholder and chairman Sumner Redstone, echoed the need for change. "Dynamic new leadership is needed to bring Midway to its full potential," she said.

She called on the new CEO to "utilize the opportunities presented by this next-generation console cycle to renew Midway's position as a major player in the video game industry."

Her father said he and the Midway board "already have some highly qualified candidates in mind." He didn't provide details beyond saying the new boss "must have the proven capabilities and track record to lead Midway."

Pachter suggested that Midway might not hire a gaming executive, instead bringing in a manager from the packaged-goods sector. He expects the new top executives to be in place by midyear.
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