Wizards of the Coast has announced that Chuck Huebner, most recently Hasbro senior vice president of planning and development, will replace Vince Caluori as CEO, while Loren Greenwood, former executive vice president of Global Sales, Marketing, and Organized Play, will become EVP and COO, responsible for day-to-day operations. The company also announced the retirement of CEO Vince Caluori, who has held that position since December 2000.
It was a busy day for the public relations department at WotC (at least gauging by the number of busy signals we received). Earlier in the day, the Gaming Report began reporting not only the management change but also the news that WotC has terminated Tom Fenderling, a Senior Vice President of Production, and severed its association with quality assurance consultant Gene Maddox. According to the site, the company has filed multi-million dollar lawsuits against Fenderling and Maddox charging improper purchasing practices and the falsifying of expense reports. As of 7 p.m. Thursday, Hasbro had confirmed all of the Gaming Report story above to TheStreet.com except the size of the claim against the departed employee and consultant.
Both Hasbro and WOTC spokesmen maintained to the Gaming Report that the nearly simultaneous resignation of current WotC CEO Vince Caluori is 'in no way connected to said lawsuit.' Regardless, the fact that news of the CEO change was out before the release announcing it certainly made it appear that events were moving more quickly than preparations for them.
New CEO Huebner is a veteran of corporate America, coming to Hasbro in 2000 from Coca Cola, and beginning his career at Procter & Gamble. New COO Greenwood has been with WotC since 1996, when he came to the company from a VP role at Ace Novelty, a promotional products company. Departing CEO Caluori was WotC's first outside board member beginning in 1994, an EVP beginning in 1997, and CEO since 2000.
At this point it is far too early to assess what impact these changes will have on the industry leader in the production of collectible card games and RPGs. Over the past year WotC's parent company Hasbro has exercised more control over WotC's operations (see 'Hasbro Clips WOTC's Wings'), while at the same time losses at WotC's retail division and slowing sales of CCGs have left Wizards of the Coast in a position where it has much less clout within the giant Hasbro organization (see 'Hasbro Improves Results' for an analysis of Hasbro's most recent financial statement). A multi-million dollar fraud involving a senior corporate official, if true, certainly won't do much to enhance WotC's status with its corporate parent. Stay tuned for more developments.