After the disaster that was the Unity runtime fee announced on September 12th, the Unity developer world was absolutely set on fire. There was massive developer backlash as well as an outright revolt against Unity Ads and IronSource. All the while, the leadership team at Unity were completely silent until 10 days later, when they announced an apology and a price change. That announcement never even came from the CEO John Riccitiello, but instead Mark Whitten, head of Unity CREATE.
Earlier today, the following tweet was released by Bloomberg reporter Jason Schrier:
Followed shortly by this article from Business Wire:
Unity (NYSE: U) (the “Company”), the world’s leading platform for creating and growing real-time 3D (RT3D) content, today announced that John Riccitiello will retire as President, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and a member of the Company’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. James M. Whitehurst has been appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer, President and a member of the Board. Roelof Botha, Lead Independent Director of the Unity Board, has been appointed Chairman. Mr. Riccitiello will continue to advise Unity to ensure a smooth transition.
The Board will initiate a comprehensive search process, with the assistance of a leading executive search firm, to identify a permanent CEO.
“Working with Unity under John’s leadership has been one of the highlights of my career. John joined the Unity Board in 2013 and stepped in to lead the Company in 2014, at a time when we faced significant challenges,” Mr. Botha said. “John has led Unity through incredible growth over the last nearly 10 years, helping us transition from a perpetual license to a subscription model, enabling developers to monetize, building other game services to serve our creator community, leading us through an IPO and positioning us as a pioneer in the developer community. Unity would not be where it is today without the impact of his contributions. I remain excited for the future of Unity.”
“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,” Mr. Riccitiello said. “I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the Company’s future success.”
Mr. Whitehurst is a seasoned technology and public company executive. He previously served as Senior Advisor and President at IBM, after joining through IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat, a leading provider of open source enterprise IT products and services, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer from 2008 to 2020.
“I am honored to join Unity as Interim CEO and President at this important time in its evolution,” Mr. Whitehurst said. “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. 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.”
This is John Riccitiello no longer Unity CEO, he’s also off the board of directors, effective immediately. After the massive leadership failure over at Unity in September, this is the move many Unity developers were calling for. You can learn more about CEO John Riccitiello leaving Unity in the video below.