/// Big Fish Games Founder Paul Thelen Takes Back Reins From CEO (Memo)
Big Fish Games founder Paul Thelen will again become CEO after handing over the job to Jeremy Lewis four years ago. The shake-up comes as a surprise as the Seattle-based casual games leader was expected to file for an IPO early this year. In a release , the company confirmed Lewis would step down as CEO effective April 30, but continue as a director. Thelen, who had been serving as chief strategy officer as well as chairman of the board, will assume the roles of president and CEO. In a memo obtained by AllThingsD , Lewis wrote to employees: “This is a natural point in our company’s progression for me to pass my responsibilities as president and CEO back to Paul, who will bring his characteristic entrepreneurial drive and creativity to the forefront.” While it is not common for founders to take back control of mature companies, it does happen on rare occasions. Some prominent examples include Apple’s Steve Jobs and Starbucks’ Howard Schultz. In October, the company wrote hefty dividend checks to its shareholders and nearly all of its employees, some of whom received as much as $100,000, depending on their tenure. The act was considered a sign that the company was preparing to go public. In 2011, the company said sales totaled $180 million, up 30 percent from the year-ago period. Big Fish Games is known for developing and publishing casual game titles, which are distributed through its Web site as consumer downloads, but increasingly on the iPad.
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Big Fish Games Founder Paul Thelen Takes Back Reins From CEO (Memo)