Unity CEO John Riccitiello ‘retires’ following controversies

Unity CEO John Riccitiello ‘retires’ following controversies Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (@gadgetry@techhub.social)

Unity CEO John Riccitiello has “retired” amid controversies that have plagued the company under his watch. 

“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,” said Riccitiello.

“I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the company’s future success.”

Unity recently created widespread backlash across the gaming community by unveiling its intention to charge developers a per-install fee each time a player downloaded one of their games.

Chief among developers’ concerns about the per-install fee was the potential for players to exploit this system by repeatedly installing and uninstalling games as a form of retaliation, effectively costing developers money.

Last year, Riccitiello was also forced to issue an apology following an interview where he called some game developers “the biggest fucking idiots”.

Riccitiello took the reins in 2014 and shifted the company from a perpetual license model to a subscription-based approach. His tenure also witnessed Unity’s initial public offering, cementing its status as a pioneer in the developer community.

Roelof Botha, Lead Independent Director of the Unity board, expressed gratitude for Riccitiello’s contributions. “Unity would not be where it is today without the impact of his contributions. I remain excited for the future of Unity,” he stated.

James M. Whitehurst has stepped into the role of Unity’s interim CEO and president. Formerly president and CEO of Red Hat, he successfully led the company from 2008 to 2020.

“With the company’s experienced leadership and passionate employees, 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,” commented Whitehurst.

“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.”

Unity remains optimistic about its future despite this abrupt change in leadership. The company has reaffirmed its third-quarter 2023 guidance, underscoring its confidence in its ongoing projects and initiatives.

As Unity sets sail under new leadership, the industry will be watching to see what changes this transition might herald for one of the most influential players in the world of 3D content creation.

(Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash)

See also: Stack Overflow reveals UK’s top 10 best-paid developer roles

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