Richard Parsons, who was appointed interim chairman two weeks after Moonves’ departure, has resigned due to health reasons. Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software, has assumed the interim chairman’s role effective immediately.
Zelnick takes over at a critical time for CBS. The company is continuing its search for a new leader after Moonves stepped down following sexual harassment claims (he denies the accusations) and has seen substantial turnover in the board, as Moonves allies have left and associates of Shari Redstone have taken seats.
At the same time, Take-Two is about to launch its biggest game in five years, as Red Dead Redemption 2 rolls out this Friday. The game, created by the same developers at Grand Theft Auto V, the best-selling game in the industry’s history and still a substantial contributor to Take-Two’s books, is widely expected to be the best selling title of the year and may well be one of the top selling games of next year as well. (Zelnick regularly describes himself as a gaming executive who doesn’t play video games.)
Parsons, the former CEO of Time Warner, had hoped to lead the search for Moonves’ replacement, but a health setback made that impossible.
“The reason for my departure relates to the state of my health,” said Parsons in a statement. “As some of you know, when I agreed to join the board and serve as the interim chair, I was already dealing with a serious health challenge – multiple myeloma – but I felt that the situation was manageable. Unfortunately, unanticipated complications have created additional new challenges, and my doctors have advised that cutting back on my current commitments is essential to my overall recovery.”