Jim Ward is President of LucasArts and Senior Vice President at Lucasfilm, Ltd. He leads the business growth of LucasArts, creator of such popular games as Star Wars: Battlefront and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, along with an increasing amount of original content, such as the best-selling Mercenaries. Additionally, in his role as Senior Vice President, Lucasfilm, Ltd., Ward oversees the planning, development and execution of global marketing and distribution programs for all of Lucasfilm’s motion picture, television and video properties – including Star Wars and Indiana Jones – and the marketing efforts for all of Lucasfilm’s corporate activities.
Ward began his career in advertising, first in New York at Doyle Dane Bernbach, and then as Senior Vice President and General Manager at BBDO/Los Angeles. As an advertising executive, Jim was involved with every major global product introduction for Apple Computer, including the influential PowerBook computer. For its work on the PowerBook, the American Marketing Association awarded Apple, BBDO and Ward two Gold Effies, as well as the Grand Effie for the biggest marketing and advertising achievement of the year. In 1993, Ward received BBDO’s highest honor, the Founder’s Award.
Shortly after his success with Apple and BBDO, Ward joined Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Ore., as global director for the Microsoft account. With the musical help of Rolling Stone’s “Start Me Up,” the worldwide introduction of Windows 95 became a cultural event. Ward then led the global Nike account, including Nike’s participation in the 1996 Summer Olympics and its introduction of golfer Tiger Woods.
Ward joined Lucasfilm in 1997 as head of its newly formed marketing division. He has overseen all aspects of the marketing and publicity campaigns for the global theatrical and video launches of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, including managing Lucasfilm’s unique distribution relationship with Twentieth Century Fox Worldwide. In addition to the films’ stellar box-office returns, Lucasfilm’s marketing efforts under Ward’s leadership have included successful promotional tie-in partnerships with major companies around the globe, including Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Burger King, Suntory, Cingular and Kellogg’s, which have propelled the theatrical release of the films into global consumer events.
Ward also served as executive producer of the elaborate DVD versions of all three films. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was Lucasfilm’s first-ever DVD offering and was one of the most acclaimed home-video releases of 2001. The 2002 DVD release of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones marked the first-ever digital-to-digital transfer of a major, live-action feature film and was one of the biggest-selling DVD titles of the year. Most recently, Ward’s marketing team also launched the Star Wars Trilogy and The Adventures of Indiana Jones – the two biggest-selling DVD boxed sets of all time – and re-released George Lucas’s first film, THX 1138, to theaters and on DVD. The marketing and distribution team at Lucasfilm has just completed launching Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 64 countries around the world.
In May 2004, Ward was named President of LucasArts, helping spark renewed growth in the company with such game hits as Star Wars: Battlefront, Knights of the Old Republic II and Mercenaries, along with the immensely popular massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: Galaxies. Under Ward’s leadership, LucasArts has become one of the most critically acclaimed game publishers and has seen several of its titles reach the top of best-seller lists. LucasArts recently launched Star Wars Battlefront II which has become the most successful Star Wars game in history and ranked second, only to EA’s Madden, for the year.
A native of Rockford, Ill., Ward received his bachelor’s degree from Hanover College and a Master of International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird).
Ward has been named one of Advertising Age’s Top 100 Marketers and was EPM’s 1999 Entertainment Marketer of the Year. He was Thunderbird’s Alumnus of the Year with Distinction in Marketing in 2000 and received Hanover College’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2003. He is also frequently found on the speaking tour, having been invited to speak at numerous AMA, AAAA and AAF engagements, and at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and the Wharton School of Business, in addition to speaking internationally at ESADE/Berkeley Haas School of Business in Barcelona. Jim has also been invited by Wal-Mart to speak at its Wal-Mart University, an ongoing forum for employee learning whose guests have ranged from Gen. Colin Powell to top executives from the corporate world. He was also recently appointed Chairman of the Executive Committee of The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Board of Directors.