Deutsch/LA's Eric Hirshberg is leaving the agency fold to become worldwide CEO of Activision Publishing, Activision Blizzard said today.
In his new role, Hirshberg will lead management of the game maker's studio, product development and consumer marketing. He succeeds Mike Griffith, who becomes vice chairman of Activision Blizzard.
Hirshberg was co-CEO and chief creative officer of Deutsch's office in Marina del Rey, Calif., where key clients include Sony PlayStation, Volkswagen of America and HTC. He spent 13 years at the Interpublic Group shop.
In explaining the hire, Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick said: "We believed it was vital to have a leader who is a dedicated gamer, inspired creative thinker [and] possessed the ability to manage and lead creative talent in a manner that produced both superior products and provided superior shareholder returns."
In a statement, Hirshberg described the crossover to the client side as a "chance to take everything I know how to do -- from leading creative people to developing a great creative product to building a culture of ideas -- and apply them to something I've been passionate about my entire life."
Hirshberg, 42, will start Sept. 7 and report to Thomas Tippl, chief operating officer of Activision Blizzard.
Deutsch entered the Los Angeles market in 1995. (Its first area office was in Santa Monica, Calif.). Two years later, the shop hired Mike Sheldon and Hirshberg to run the operation, then as general manager and executive creative director, respectively. Both came from Fattal & Collins in Marina del Rey.
Under Sheldon and Hirshberg, the agency grew from less than a dozen staffers to about 420 today.
Sheldon remains as co-CEO today. Deutsch has launched a search for a new CCO, as Hirshberg winds down his last two months at the agency.
While acknowledging that Hirshberg's exit will "sting a little," Sheldon added, "I'm really proud of him taking his career to a new level."
See also: Digital Special Issue - Gaming