Unity CEO Steps Down Abruptly Months After Controversy  

Unity CEO John Riccitiello has abruptly stepped down from his position, with immediate effect. The company has announced James Whitehurst as the interim CEO and Roelof Botha as the chairman. Riccitiello will remain an advisor to facilitate a smooth transition, while the board begins the search for a permanent CEO.

Also read: GameStop CFO Diana Saadeh-Jajeh Resigns Amid Ongoing Executive Turnover

Unity's CEO And President Steps Down After Policy Debacle

Riccitiello’s Impact

Riccitiello, who has been leading Unity for nearly a decade, played a pivotal role in the company’s transformation from a traditional software licensing model to a subscription-based service. Under his leadership, Unity expanded its offerings for game developers and achieved significant growth. As of the past year, Unity-powered apps have reached an impressive 2.7 billion devices globally and have been downloaded over 24 billion times.

However, Riccitiello’s tenure was not without controversy.

Controversy and Criticisim

Earlier this year, he made headlines for making critical comments about certain segments of the gaming industry during an interview. Although he later apologized, the incident generated significant online backlash.

Riccitiello’s departure also follows recent criticism faced by Unity for proposed changes to its pricing model, which many developers viewed as unfair and exploitative, especially due to retroactive application to games already in development. Calls for a boycott and Riccitiello’s resignation circulated on various forums and social media platforms.

Interim CEO to Take Over

In his retirement announcement, Riccitiello expressed gratitude for his nearly decade-long tenure as Unity’s leader:

“It’s been a privilege to lead Unity for nearly a decade and serve our employees, customers, developers, and partners.”

James Whitehurst, an advisor at the private equity firm Silver Lake, which owns approximately 9% of Unity, will take over as interim CEO. Whitehurst brings significant industry experience, having previously served as the CEO of IBM subsidiary Red Hat.

About Unity

Unity is a leading provider of the globally acclaimed real-time 3D (RT3D) development platform. This powerful platform equips content creators across the globe with the essential tools to craft 2D, 3D, VR, and AR creations.

Unity boasts an engineering team of over 800 individuals who collaborate closely with renowned partners like Magic Leap, Google, Facebook, Oculus, and Microsoft.


Ivy Wu

Ivy Wu was a media reporter at btw media. She graduated from Korea University with a major in media and communication, and has rich experience in reporting and news writing.

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