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Unity CEO, President Retire After Policy Debacle

Unity’s CEO and President, John Riccitiello, resigned after community backlash over its controversial runtime fee policy. He also resigned as board chairman.

GamesIndustry.biz reports that James M. Whitehurst will serve as interim CEO and President until a permanent replacement is found. Leading independent Unity board director Roelof Botha is chairman.

The situation, according to Whitehurst:

“I am confident that Unity is well-positioned to continue enhancing its platform, strengthening its community of customers, developers, and partners, and focusing on its growth and profitability goals. I look forward to working closely with the board and our talented global team to execute on our strategy, and I anticipate a seamless transition.”

On his departure, Riccitiello thanked the firm for his decade-long tenure:

“It’s been a privilege to lead Unity for nearly a decade and serve our employees, customers, developers and partners, all of whom have been instrumental to the Company’s growth. I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the Company’s future success.”

Developers slammed Unity’s recent policy change, which charges them for each game installed using the engine. Some even said they would stop using Unity for future projects. Unity issued multiple apologies and changed its pricing.

Ricitiello has been in the same role since 2014, so his departure may be coincidental. When someone in such a high position leaves, there is usually a period of transition, and Unity’s recent policy debacle may be linked to this abrupt leadership change.

Along with the policy controversy, Riccitiello was known for selling 2000 Unity shares before the announcement. The executive had sold more than 50,000 shares over the past year without buying any, so the timing may be coincidental, but the move still raised eyebrows in the industry.

About Jacob Chambers

Old-school gamer with a cheeky tongue that gets me in trouble. When I'm not playing games, I'm writing about them, preferably in the vicinity of a fridge! Oh, and if you're a Justin Bieber fan, I'm afraid we can't be friends!

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