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Game Over for Atari CEO

Updated from 5:14 p.m. EDT

The revolving door continues to spin at Atari (ATAR), with CEO Jim Caparro's resignation being the latest in a series of management changes.

Caparro resigned effective immediately, Atari reported on Tuesday.

In a regulatory filing last week, Glenayre Technologies (GEMS) reported that Caparro agreed last month to serve as CEO of the company's Entertainment Distribution (EDC) division.

Bruno Bonnell, Atari's chairman and chief creative officer, will serve as the company's interim CEO while it searches for a permanent replacement for Caparro, who had replaced Bonnell as CEO last November.

Although Caparro's departure was previewed in Glenayre's filing, Atari's announcement after Tuesday's closing bell sent the company's stock spiraling in the after-hours markets. In recent trading, Atari's shares were off 52 cents, or 17.7%, to $2.42.

Caparro's departure from Atari comes as something of a surprise, in part because he assumed the CEO position at the the struggling video game publisher less than seven months ago. Indeed, he represented Atari at the recent Electronic Entertainment Exposition and talked expansively in an interview there about his plans for reviving the company.

Atari spokeswoman Patricia Steele said she couldn't explain why Caparro decided to leave the company so soon after joining it. "I have to assume this was an opportunity he sought to take," she said.

Caparro didn't return a call seeking comment on his departure.

Atari did not say -- and Steele did not know -- whether Caparro will retain his seat on Atari's board. He has served as a director of the company since 2002.

Atari had put in place a new management team over the last year. In addition to Caparro, the company hired a new CFO, and new heads for its administration, business and legal affairs, communications, and marketing divisions.

The management shake-up came as Atari struggled with declining sales and earnings. The company announced in February that it was shuttering two of its studios and exploring "strategic alternatives" for its future.

With the move, Caparro returns to the media distribution industry, within which he has a long history. In 2003, Caparro founded EDC, which Glenayre acquired last month, and served as its chairman and CEO before joining Atari.

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