It was announced over the weekend that Finnish mobile gaming company Rovio Entertainment's CEO, Mikael Hed is to leave the company after five years, which have seen him helm them through a genuine pop culture phenomenon in the shape of Angry Birds; arguably the modern success story of the gaming world. It is not only the most downloaded game of all time, but has managed to develop a global entertainment brand in publishing, licensing, animations, books, and even its own theme park! There's also an Angry Birds feature film planned for release in July 2016. Hed will be succeeded by chief commercial officer Pekka Rantala from the 1st of January 2015, and will spend the ensuing months making sure the transition is a smooth one.
Angry Birds is not only the most downloaded game of all time, but has managed to develop a global entertainment brand in publishing, licensing, animations and books.
Hed might be leaving the mobile phone app developers, but that doesn't mean he won't still have a presence at the company. Indeed, chairman of the board, Kaj Hed has nominated the incumbent CEO for a board of directors position, and Hed will also serve as chairman of Rovio Animation Studios, where he will oversee animation and movies. He said working at Rovio has been “An amazing ride,” and he feels happy to “Pass the hoodie” to Rantala, a veteran of Nokia, Finland's other famous brand, who he feels will “Take Rovio to the next level.” He adds that Rantala is “Known to be a great leader with experience building successful global consumer brands,” and reinforces the fact that he'll still be a part of the Rovio family by stating he will “Continue to play an active role,” and will support the team in any way he can “To ensure Rovio’s continued success.” Rantala brings with him to the role over 20 years worth of experience with international leadership within branded consumer products in various industries.
There have been a few other notable shifts in leadership at Rovio recently. It's been announced that the games division will have a new executive vice president in the form of Jami Laes, who takes over where former executive vice president Petri Jarvilehto left off. Jarvilehto left Rovio to start a new mobile gaming company called Seriously Digital Entertainment with another old Rovio executive, Andre Stalbow.
It's been announced that the games division will have a new executive vice president in the form of Jami Laes, who takes over where former EVP Petri Jarvilehto left off
This announcement arrives at something of a conflicted time for the company, as the company has been losing profits in the last year, (reported profits of £22.1 million for 2013, falling by half on the previous year) even though the Angry Birds app and its subsequent sequels continue to appear in the top 100 paid and free apps list on the iOS store. It's thought that the company is trying to take the expansion into animation seriously, as evidenced by the recent Angry Birds TV series and upcoming film. Rovio are not the only mobile gaming company to take a dive this year either, as King Digital, makers of the frustratingly addictive Candy Crush Saga, have also struggled with poor results since going public earlier this year. The ubiquitous Zynga has also fallen afoul of the mobile gaming industry's fickle nature, with the FarmVille developers failing to keep investors on board with a 34 per cent drop in revenue in the quarter to 30 June.
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer, musician and gamer who was never much of an Angry Birds fan. Probably because he's rather rubbish at it.