European MD: Chris Deering (Codemasters)
If Ken Kutaragi (our worldwide chairman) is the global ‘Father of PlayStation’, then Chris Deering is most certainly its cool uncle. It’s little wonder we picked him as an MCV Legend. Put simply, PSOne and PS2 share an installed base of over 40 million in PAL territories alone. And that’s in no small part due to Deering.
From his role as VP of marketing at Atari 20 years ago, he has consistently turned everything he touches to gold – and never been frightened by the cutting edge.
One of Deering’s less talked-about attributes is his ability to cut costs; and we’d be only too happy to give him the power he needed to do so. When he became outright president of Sony Europe in 2004, he almost immediately reduced fixed overheads by $250 million. That sort of money can go a long way elsewhere.
His current role at Codemasters – and positions on the Board of IGA, Handheld Learning and more – keeps him very active within the industry, so we could snap him up without any fear that he’d lost any of his legendary list of contacts.
In for a second feature: Yves Guillemot (Ubisoft), David Reeves (Sony), Gerhard Florin (EA), Joerg Trouvain (Ubisoft), Mike Hayes (Sega)
Marketing Director: Martin Spiess (Midway)
Midway’s success in Europe in recent years has put its US division to shame – and the full responsibility has sat on international executive VP Spiess’ shoulders. Since joining Midway in 2005, the firm’s European revenues have nearly doubled – thanks to his intricate knowledge of such an intricate market.
During this time, Spiess has also established an additional Midway office in Paris, France, to work with UK and German infrastructure in further developing pan-European channels.
In recent times, he has shown how his marketing background has gifted him with enviable expertise: not least by making dramatic strides in the Eastern European market – and beating his rivals to the punch.
Second feature: Laurent Fischer (Nintendo), David Gosen (Microsoft), Keely Brenner (Disney), Larry Sparks (Square Enix)
Sales Director: Roy Campbell (THQ)
A true natural born salesman, Roy Campbell has previously been described by this very publication as: ‘Gifted with more than a little charm and a Scottish canniness that lets you know he’s a deal-maker without resorting to the Del Boy flannel so prevalent amongst the rest of his generation.’
He may be head honcho at THQ these days, but the natural sales brilliance described above still very much exists. So long as we could secure his services (not an easy task, considering he’s now pretty much part of the furniture at his current employers), we’d be able to tap into a rich history that includes spells as UK sales director during Ocean’s glory years, and MD of Infogrames.
Second feature: Ray Maguire (Sony), Keith Ramsdale (EA), Bob Burridge (Eidos), Rob Cooper (Ubisoft)
Brand Manager: Gary Sims (Activision)
Activision’s golden boy can currently do no wrong. As it stands, ‘Mr. Guitar Hero’ is in charge of the biggest-selling franchise of 2008, according to his employers – showing exactly the sort of commitment and ability that can turn a well-liked brand into a household name.
The stats speak for themselves: projected year-on-year growth of 400 per cent for a series that’s already accrued over $1 billion in revenues. Sims now has the task of ramping up that breakneck success, and he’s already doing so with gusto (no-one in their right mind is not aware that a new GH: World Tour, is out now).
And Sims handling of the brand’s expansion into other areas – including add-ons, toys and books – is a lesson in how to push a franchise’s potential beyond the boundaries of our burgeoning industry.
Second feature: Stuart Lang (EA), Jon Murphy (Konami), Mike Eglington (THQ)
Head of Communications: Nick Grange (Activision)
Grange’s five years at Microsoft saw him play a vital role in quickly and efficiently banishing any idea of Xbox and 360 being created and run by a faceless, uncaring corporation – instead bringing a unique passion to the public face of the console.
His dealing with difficulties – not least manufacturing and warranty issues with the console’s ‘red ring of death’ – was a masterclass, and calmed a UK press that had started chomping at the bit for perceived ‘justice’.
In addition, he oversaw the successful releases of many top-selling Microsoft titles such as Project Gotham Racing 3, Gears of War and both Halo 2 and 3.
His background as EA PR manager, combined with current spot as European PR manager for Activision, shows he’s got what it takes to handle press relations at the biggest third-party publishers in the land. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve. Sign here, please sir…
Second feature: Lidia Rumley (Ubisoft), Tiffany Steckler (EA), Shelley Pearce (Nintendo)
To read who we’d employ in our UK office, click here for the final part of our trio of special features.