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Devolver Digital CEO Steps Down Immediately In A Major Company-Wide Shakeup

Devolver Digital CEO Steps Down With Immediately Effect In A Major Company-Wide Shakeup

There has been a major shakeup in Devolver Digital leadership. Douglas Morin who has been the CEO of the developer and publisher behind popular titles like Baby Steps and Cult of the Lamb since 2021 would be stepping down with immediate effect. The news was contained in a press release published by the company on January 31, 2024.

Devolver Digital CEO Steps Down With Immediately Effect In A Major Company-Wide Shakeup

“Douglas Morin has stepped down from his role as CEO and Board member and will be succeeded by Harry Miller, Executive Chairman and major shareholder, who is today appointed as CEO, with immediate effect. Douglas played a vital role in Devolver’s IPO, strengthened the corporate and operating structure of the listed company, and championed the acquisition of System Era Softworks.”

Miller was one of the co-founders of Devolver in 2009 alongside Mike Wilson, Nigel Lowrie, Graeme Struthers, and Rick Stults. At one time, Miller who has over 30 years of experience in video games served as the CEO of the company. Therefore, coming back as the CEO is akin to walking on a familiar path.

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“Harry has been instrumental in defining and building Devolver’s business and culture into the award-winning independent video games publisher and developer it has become,” read the press release. Several other changes were made to the board of the company.

For example, Kate Marsh who has been the company’s senior independent director since it became a public company in November 2021 has been elevated to non-executive chair with immediate effect. Consequently, Marsh will resign from the role of Remuneration Committee chair to take up the Nomination Committee chair but will continue to sit on the Remuneration and Audit Committees.

Devolver Digital CEO Steps Down With Immediately Effect In A Major Company-Wide Shakeup

Also joining the board with immediate effect is Devolver co-founder Graeme Struthers who has been acting as the Chief Operating Officer since 2022. The new Remuneration Committee chair is Jo Goodson. Consequently, Goodson will resign from the role of non-executive director chair. Reacting to the announcement Miller said:

“On behalf of the Board and everyone at Devolver, I would like to thank Douglas for his significant commitment and achievements at Devolver in the last four years.  Douglas’ energy, leadership, and determination were critical to our IPO and program to build our infrastructure as a listed company, culminating in the exciting System Era acquisition.  I am excited by the opportunity to step back into the CEO role. It’s an incredible pleasure and honor to continue to work with Devolver’s fantastic and talented team, building out a strong pipeline of fun and creativity, and of course, delivering on our long-term growth strategy.”

Devolver shakeup may have spilled into its subsidiaries

Devolver Digital CEO Steps Down With Immediately Effect In A Major Company-Wide Shakeup

It appears the January 31 shakeup rubbed off on the company’s subsidiaries. Devolver has a balanced portfolio of proprietary and third-party IPs. The company has published over 100 titles, and according to the press release, the company has over 30 titles in the pipeline that will be released over the next few years.

One of Devolver-owned studios, Artificer laid up around 50% of its staff on the same day of the shakeup. Until now, no reason has been given for the layoffs. Artificer was founded by a team of developers who previously worked at CreativeForge Games.

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While neither Artificer nor Devolver has made a statement about the layoff, former employees of the studio have confirmed the layoffs in their social media posts. Layoffs in the video game industry have suddenly become a trend.

While about 10,000 video game workers lost their jobs last year, over 6,000 workers lost their jobs in January 2024 alone. In addition to the company executive shakeup, Devolver also announced a new tactical puzzle shooter titled Children of the Sun.

In its latest financial report, the team said that its earnings were in line with expectations. Miller also disclosed some of the games that have been lined up for release this year.

“After a quiet year in 2023 for major title releases, we enter 2024 with a release schedule featuring wonderful titles such as Pepper Grinder, The Plucky Squire, Anger Foot, and NEVA, with releases more evenly balanced throughout the year. In addition, we will enjoy a full year of contribution from recently acquired System Era which takes us into the exciting area of expandable games and has performed in line with expectations since acquisition. As a result of this momentum for our strategy heading into 2024, we expect Normalized Adjusted EBITDA to return to growth in 2024 and accelerate in 2025.”