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Weisman indeed ousted as WizKids CEO

June 23rd, 2006: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Weisman indeed ousted as WizKids CEO

I know everyone hates “sources,” but we do now have multiple ones, so here goes: “sources” confirm that Jordan Weisman is no longer in charge at WizKids. Discuss!

[EDIT: And now we have confirmation, and added details, from Jordan Weisman himself. Click “Read more” below for today’s press release]

WizKids press release follows:

Dear Hobby Game Community,

Due to changing demands within our industry and within our own company, WizKids is reorganizing to strengthen itself within the marketplace. In doing so, we are making changes at the executive level management of our company, bringing in highly skilled and proven leaders while allowing the creative side of our company to focus on continued innovation.

I am stepping down as CEO of WizKids. Moving forward, I will continue to work with WizKids in a creative capacity, exploring new product innovations and game development. The goal is to allow me to do what I do best and what I love the most, which is to create great games. Stepping down as CEO is a very difficult decision. But I believe it is best for WizKids, as well as what is best for me.

Lax Chandra will be taking on the role of President at WizKids. Lax was most recently Topps Company’s Director of Business Development for the Entertainment Division and head of the Internet Group. Lax’s mix of strategic vision, passion and discipline combined with his impressive business experience make him a solid choice as WizKids next President. I am confident he will effectively lead WizKids into its next chapter for years to come.

With the strong addition of Lax, WizKids has also hired Joe Hauck as the Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Product Development. Joe brings with him 10 years of game industry experience, most recently as Vice President of Brand Marketing for Wizards of the Coast. Joe is one of the most accomplished marketers in the history of our industry. His experience managing the Magic brand is a testament to steady brand development and extension. Joe will focus on growing WizKids’ market share, forming strategic partnerships, and delivering top-notch products to our industry. I am pleased to welcome him as a valued member of our management team.

WizKids is firmly committed to supporting the Core Hobby Game industry and plans to serve this industry for years to come. The company’s commitment to innovation and excellence has not changed and we look forward to working with all of the folks that make this industry great to help transform the marketplace into a vibrant and exciting one again.

Sincerely,

Jordan Weisman

7 Comments »

7 comments

  1. Chris says:

    Sources also indicate that a lot of the senior management was also released at that time…

  2. Chiisai says:

    If you go to the Securities and Exchange Commission website (www.sec.gov), it lists everything out under the Topps company information. It was filed today and is listed as an 8-K form. Guess the government is a pretty good source. 🙂

  3. Allan Sugarbaker says:

    About 15 people were let go on June 8th, and stayed quiet about it until WizKids made its own announcement. According to ICv2, ToonClix is cancelled as well.

    http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/8875.html

  4. misuba says:

    Good find Chiisai. For those who don’t care to go digging, it seems that Weisman has entered into an exclusive game-development deal with WK wherein they have right of first refusal to his designs for a few years. That could of course get inconvenient for Weisman if things continue to go south for WK.

  5. Thomas says:

    Interesting bits from sec.gov about Topps:

    “Finally, sales declined from $300 million in 2002 to $294 million in 2006, a decline of 2% (despite the 2004 acquisition of WizKids that contributed $22 million in 2005, without which, sales would have been lower in 2006 resulting in an even steeper decline in sales).”

    “… has reduced its U.S. workforce by approximately 17%.” With 65 employees, that means 11 people were laid off.

    The filed termination notice of Jordon Wiseman is over at http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/812076/000081207606000050/f8k_jun20jordan.txt

  6. Torquemada says:

    Hey,

    Now he has money AND time. He’ll probably take an extended vacation and return in four years time with a new type of game. 🙂

    Bye.

  7. Del says:

    I don’t really feels sorry for the man. The only problem for him leaving is getting through the door while carrying all that money. In a few years he will come up with something entirely new and popular like he always does and start all over again.

    I can understand him wanting to be a designer and not a suit.

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