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Codemasters appoints Rod Cousens as new CEO

Former Acclaim boss Rod Cousens has been named as CEO of British publisher Codemasters, with another industry veteran, former Bam! Entertainment managing director Tony Williams, being appointed as COO.

Former Acclaim boss Rod Cousens has been named as CEO of British publisher Codemasters, with another industry veteran, former Bam! Entertainment managing director Tony Williams, being appointed as COO.

The change to the company's top management comes in the wake of a major investment in Codemasters by venture capital firm Benchmark Capital Europe, which acquired 40 per cent of the publisher last month.

Cousens, a 25 year veteran of the games industry, is best known as the COO and latterly CEO of international publisher Acclaim Entertainment, which went bankrupt last September. He was subsequently connected to a failed attempt to revive the firm's UK operations with a new company under the working title of "Exclaim".

Prior to his 14 year stint at Acclaim, Cousens was the UK managing director and then international president of Activision, now one of the largest publishers in the global videogames industry.

He replaces Codemasters founder David Darling in the top job at the privately-held British publisher, with Darling moving into a role as chief creative officer after just four months in the CEO position - which he assumed after the resignation of Nick Wheelwright in January.

Tony Williams, who joins the firm as chief operating officer, is also a veteran of Acclaim, but is better known for his roles as COO and co-chairman of Take Two Interactive, where he was involved in the deal that saw the company acquiring the Grand Theft Auto property as part of its purchase of BMG Interactive. More recently, he was managing director and vice chairman of Bam! Entertainment.

"We are putting the pieces in place for longevity and growth as we take the company to the next stage," David Darling explained this morning. "We are building financial and management strength, enabling us to expand our product innovation and game development. I am immensely pleased in welcoming Rod and Tony to the Codemasters family. Their experience and achievements in the global video game markets will be hugely valuable for our company as part of its global expansion."

For its part, Benchmark Capital Europe is also pleased with the change to the management team at Codemasters. "We are delighted to bring on board two such strong executives," according to general partner Ynon Kreiz. "Rod's skills in international sales and distribution together with Tony's operational and financial expertise will complement David and Richard Darling's creative leadership. This will help us in building Codemasters into a leading global publisher."

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Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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