Yup, Doug Lowenstein is leaving

My question is, who steps up now? Lowenstein unofficially served as the voice of the gaming industry whenever titles it came under critical or legislative attack from lawmakers or Jack Thompson. It’ll be very interesting to see who the ESA finds to fill that spot.

Here’s the press release from the ESA confirming Lowenstein’s departure:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 19, 2006) — The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced today that its founding president, Douglas Lowenstein, will leave the organization early next year after twelve years of service to launch a new trade association in the investment industry.

Lowenstein will stay on into early 2007 to ensure a smooth transition, and the ESA will begin a full executive search for a replacement immediately.

“I have been honored to represent the amazing companies of the ESA, to serve as their advocate and to be part of an industry which is having such a profound and positive effect on our culture and the world of entertainment,” Mr. Lowenstein said. “Like our industry, the ESA has grown and matured and is now stronger and more robust than ever before. The future of video games and its trade association is very bright indeed.”

Lowenstein joined what was then known as the Interactive Digital Software Association in 1994. The name of the organization was changed in 2003 to the Entertainment Software Association to more accurately and succinctly describe the industry ESA represents.

During Mr. Lowenstein’s tenure, industry revenues grew from about $3 billion to more than $10 billion. The ESA grew from two employees at launch to 32 employees working on a range of programs, from anti-piracy enforcement and domestic and international intellectual property policy to government and media relations and research.

In accepting Mr. Lowenstein’s resignation, ESA Chairman and President of Microsofts Entertainment & Devices Division, Robbie Bach, thanked Mr. Lowenstein for his invaluable service to the organization. “As the founding president of this organization, Doug built ESA into a very effective and influential trade association fully and articulately representing the interests of our members. He leaves behind a tremendous record of accomplishments which provides us with the foundation for continued growth and success. We wish him well in his new role.”