The President of Rockstar North has left the studio after almost 17 years with the company, it was confirmed today.
Leslie Benzies, who ran the studio responsible for the development of all major Grand Theft Auto titles, has departed following a sabbatical he went on over a year ago.
According to a statement issued to Kotaku, Rockstar say Benzies went on sabbatical on September 1st 2014 and “has decided not to return to work for the company”
“We are very grateful for Leslie’s contributions to Rockstar over the last 15 years as we worked together to make some amazing games,” read the statement.
“Leslie helped us build an incredible team that will continue to create great experiences for our fans.
“Leslie will always be a friend to the company and of course we are going to miss him but we wish him the absolute best for the future.”
According to Kotaku, the studio will remain open and art designers Aaron Garbut and Rob Nelson will take over duties of running the studio.
Benzies originally joined Rockstar in 1999 as a programmer and would later go on to work on the GTA series, eventually leading the studio as a whole.
He was also a producer for such critically acclaimed titles such as Red Dead Redemption, Manhunt, LA Noire and Max Payne 3.
He was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame previously and was also awarded a BAFTA Fellowship Award along with his Rockstar colleagues.