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Vidgame publisher THQ shuffles execs

Danny Bilson exits company; Kay tapped chief strategy officer

Videogame publisher THQ has parted ways with Danny Bilson after turning to the Hollywood vet to boost the company’s bottom line with tentpole titles and has tapped Jason Rubin as president as the gamemaker undergoes its latest restructuring to stem considerable losses.

Gamemaker also has tapped Jason Kay as its chief strategy officer, who will report to Rubin.

Bilson, who served as exec VP of core games and launched games including “Homefront” while at the company, is ankling to “pursue other interests.” Bilson’s credits also include creating TV series “The Flash” and “The Sentinel,” as well as penning the script for “The Rocketeer,” before working at Electronic Arts, where he oversaw such franchises as “The Sims,” its “Harry Potter” games and “Medal of Honor.” He joined THQ in 2009.

“Danny has made significant contributions to THQ, and we thank him for his efforts,” said THQ chairman-CEO Brian Farrell.

Rubin co-founded Naughty Dog, the developer behind Sony PlayStation’s hit “Uncharted,” “Crash Bandicoot” and “Jak and Daxter” franchises. Sony bought the developer in 2001. Rubin ran the shingle until 2004.

In addition to consulting for the games biz, Rubin most recently launched mashup app Flektor, which Fox Interactive Media acquired in 2007 and shuttered in 2009, incorporating some of its technology with MySpace.

“THQ has incredible internal and external game development teams and an exciting slate of games in its development pipeline,” Rubin said. “The recent transformation of THQ into a creator of wholly owned IP has placed it in a perfect position to leverage future trends in the game business. I look forward to working with the management team and board to realize the company’s goals.”

The exec will now spearhead THQ’s produce development, marketing and publishing operations, reporting to Farrell.

Company’s upcoming releases include “Darksiders II,” from Vigil Games; “Saints Row: The Third — Enter the Dominatrix,” from Volition; Relic Entertainment’s “Company of Heroes 2”; as well as “WWE ’13,” “Metro: Last Light” and “South Park: The Game.”

“Jason’s proven track record in the industry speaks for itself, and he is one of the brightest minds in the business,” Farrell said. “We believe he can be a game changer and can contribute immensely to executing on our strategy of delivering quality connected core game experiences.”

Kay co-founded Flektor with Rubin and has served as an executive and adviser to Activision, Columbia House and HBO.

In addition to Bilson, Dave Davis, senior VP of core studios also will leave THQ.

THQ recently announced plans for a reverse stock split to avoid a delisting on Nasdaq after losses grew to $240 million during its most recent fiscal year, which wrapped March 31, from the $136 million loss it recorded the previous year. Fourth-quarter losses widened to $53 million from $44 million, although revenue rose 48% to $184.2 million.

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