Tomb Raider's SCi Adds Warners' Executive to Board

Warner Bros growing more serious over games investment

Posted by Staff
Kevin Tsujihara: A Top Man... at Warner Bros.
Kevin Tsujihara: A Top Man... at Warner Bros.
Tomb Raider and Hitman owner, SCi Entertainment now has two new non-executive directors, one of whom comes from Warner Bros and the other from an investment firm - both are serious money men.

Back in April this year, following the departure of long-standing executives from UK publisher, SCi Entertainment, Warner Bros became the second biggest stock holder in the company.

The deal also saw SCi getting distribution in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Warner Bros also owns GameTap, which recently signed up Interplay legacy/classic titles for digital download.

Back then, a gent called Kevin Tsujihara said, "This investment underscores Warner Bros' commitment to becoming a major presence in the video game business."

Kevin Tsujihara is one of the new directors. He is also president of Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group. His biography tells us that he, "previously held positions as Executive Vice president, New Media, with oversight of all of the company's new media operations and executive vice president, Corporate Business Development and Strategy."

His remit at Warner Bros covers, ' home video, digital distribution, on-line, wireless, games, anti-piracy and emerging technology operations' - but mostly he's about the money.

Aaron Brown the other appointment. He 'is a director of R20 Limited, the investment vehicle of Robert Tchenguiz. His appointment to the Board of SCi is in accordance with the terms of an agreement between the Company and Thorson (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust)". Money, money and indeed more money.

So, how does the current chairman of SCi react to this? Tim Ryan is, "very pleased to welcome Kevin Tsujihara and Aaron Brown to the Board of SCi and look forward to working with them and benefiting from their considerable experience and expertise."

That experience and expertise is certainly little to do with making games - but a vast amount to do with making ailing companies work. So, let's look at the current make-up of the SCi board:

Tim Ryan - Chairman: Also Chairman of Bell Pottinger International, one of the United Kingdom's largest public relations companies. Formerly head of corporate and investor relations at SkyePharma Plc, one of the world's leading drug delivery companies and was director of Corporate Communications at NTL.

Phil Rogers - Chief Executive: previously Vice-President Corporate Development at Electronic Arts and is a chartered accountant.

Nigel Wayne - Non-executive director: "He is a Chartered Accountant with considerable experience of advising and funding growing companies in the technology and media sectors. As a former finance director of SCi he also has extensive experience of the computer games industry." Okay, Nigel Wayne is featured as a mode in the SNES version of Lawnmower Man from 1993.

Roger Ames - Non-executive director: "Roger is currently CEO of EMI Music North America" According to The Times 2007 Rich List, "He ran London Records and chaired Warner Music after it took over the company for 140m. While at Warner he oversaw the likes of Madonna (qv) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Past bonuses take him to 160m".

Don Johnston - Non-executive Director: 'is Managing Director and Chairman of Deutsche Bank's European Mergers & Acquisitions business'.

So, the board of SCi is currently packed to the gunwales with serious intent to turn around a company with some potentially very valuable intellectual property. It has now been joined by the president of a key stockholder that owns GameTap - the digital download portal which would benefit hugely from a big IP.

Last time we looked, Tomb Raider Underworld seemed very attractive - despite the fact that it has slipped to a Christmas (sorry, 'The Holidays') launch.


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