Zenimax CEO Robert A. Altman dies aged 73

Robert A. Altman, co-founder and CEO of Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media, has died at the age of 73.

Born in 1947, Altman initially worked as a lawyer, before setting up ZeniMax Media in 1999 alongside Bethesda founder Christopher Weaver. Altman later took over as its sole boss and has headed the company ever since.

“We are deeply saddened to tell you of the passing of Robert A. Altman, our Founder and CEO,” ZeniMax said in a statement posted to Twitter. “He was a true visionary, friend, and believer in the spirit of people and the power of what they could accomplish together. He was an extraordinary leader, and an even better human being.” No cause of death was mentioned.

During Altman’s time in charge, ZeniMax grew to become a parent company to numerous other game developers, such as id Software, Arkane, MachineGames and Tango Gameworks. And, of course, it will soon become a part of Xbox Game Studios, following Microsoft’s announcement of a $7.5bn buyout.

In his personal life, Altman was married to Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter. One of their sons, James, also works at ZeniMax.

During his career in corporate law, Altman was frequently called to testify in front of US Congress when representing major companies. In one instance, when representing his own part in investigations into British bank BCCI, Altman insisted on putting himself on trial for five months to maintain his innocence over bribery charges. The charges were dismissed, though Altman agreed to give up banking.

“There really are no words,” Bethesda game design director Emil Pagliarulo wrote in tribute. “It’s an extremely sad day for Bethesda Studios and ZeniMax. If you love our games, it’s because of Robert’s love for what we did, and his trust in our dreams.”