Rovio CEO Passes Torch as ‘Angry Birds’ Maker Falters
Rovio CEO Mikael Hed, who helped found the company five years ago, is stepping down at the beginning of next year, the Angry Birds maker announced Friday morning.
Hed will be succeeded by Pekka Rantala, who currently serves as the company’s chief commercial officer, on Jan. 1, 2015. Hed will remain on Rovio’s board of directors; he’ll also serve as chairman of the company’s animation division.
The company referred to the transfer as “passing the hoodie” in its press release, in honor of the Angry Birds hoodies its C-suite wears.
“It has been an amazing ride and in the coming months I will be very happy to pass the hoodie to Pekka Rantala, who will take Rovio to the next level,” Mikael Hed said in a press release.
“Pekka is known to be a great leader with experience building successful global consumer brands. I will continue to play an active role and will support Pekka in any way I can to ensure Rovio’s continued success.”
The move comes at a time of transition for the company, which saw its profits fall in 2013 by half. The popularity of the Angry Birds franchise isn’t as strong as it was two years ago, with new free-to-play franchises like Clash of Clans and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood dominating the charts.
Rantala has an extensive background at larger companies, including 14 years at Nokia; he was CEO of Finnish drink maker Hartwell before joining Rovio. With no direct gaming experience on his resume, his appointment may mark a shift even further away from mobile gaming.
The company has already made forays into animation, publishing and merchandising, but none saw the same level of success as the Angry Birds games, which dominated the mobile charts from 2010 to 2012.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.