David Grenwetzki served as Sierra's President from June 1998 to May 2001, succeeding Michael Brochu who had departed the company in October 1997.He came to the company backed with a long career in software, dating to the early 1980s--the heady pioneer days of computer gaming; He had had a successful career owning his own small, 'garage' software businesses and later working in Executive positions with large companies such as Mindscape Entertainment (1994-1995), Accolade (1996-1998) Entertainment, and most recently before joining Sierra, Palladium Interactive (January 1998-June 1998).
Grenewetzki came to Sierra when it was in the midst of turmoil: With the uncovering of the Cendant Scandal, the future of Cendant Software, Inc, of which Sierra was a division, seemed very unclear. Not only that, but the illegal dealings that the CUC half of Cendant had engaged in had included Sierra's name, which wiped out many of Sierra's employees 401Ks and had greatly reduced the company's profitability as it's parent company's stock tumbled, a company which had only months before been one of the largest and seemingly most successful conglomerate companies on Earth. Grenewetzki inherited a massive software company, which had over 1,000 employees located in numerous locations scattered throughout the globe, with about a dozen semi-autonomous and physically separate wholly owned subsidiaries and about 70 projects in different stages of development at any given time. In the three years prior to Grenewetzki joining Sierra, the company had acquired 9 different companies and had grown rapidly, with little consolidation of it's acquired companies.
Just five months into Grenewetzki's tenure, turmoil once again shook the company as it was sold for the second time, from troubled parent Cendant Corp., to the a French entertainment company called Havas on November 20th, 1998. Not long after Havas acquired Sierra, Havas itself was acquired by French water conglomerate Vivendi.
To combat the new turmoil which shook the company, the massive sprawl of Sierra's development groups, the lack of profitability due to the Cendant scandal, and the winds of change blowing through the computer game industry, Grenewetzki decided that in order to survive, Sierra had to tighten it's belt. On February 22nd 1999, the company announced the closure of four of it's studios Yosemite Entertainment (the original headquarters of the company from it's founding until 1994), and three subsidiary companies: Synergstic Software, Pyrotechnix, and Books that Work. Another subsidiary, Headgate Studios, was sold back to it's original owner. Grenewetzki commented, saying "The entertainment market is changing and we need to maintain our leadership role in the category. As we evolve into a mass market industry, we need to focus on the needs of consumers. We feel that a more focused software strategy and a stronger commitment to the internet and on-line gaming are key factors for our continued success."
The company also announced that production of it's long running InterAction Magazine would be ceased after the Spring 1999 issue came to print. Grenewetzki explained this move, saying, "We started InterAction in an era when there wasn't much popular press devoted to computer software, but now our market is served by numerous specialty magazines that do a great job covering our products. It's time for us to get out of the publishing business and concentrate on our principal business of developing software."