Rovio, the company behind the successful Angry Birds mobile franchise, today announced that its current CEO Pekka Rantala will be stepping down from the role after just one year in office. As Retuers reported, Rantala’s time at the company included multiple job cuts and restructuring plans within Rovio, and his tenure coincided with the company’s first reported profit decline since the launch of Angry Birds in 2009.
The company has now announced that chief legal officer Kati Levoranta will take the reins as CEO in the first quarter of 2016, after Rantala officially vacates the position. It also revealed a new initiative where “more independence” will be given its two biggest branches: games and media. Mikael Hed, former Rovio CEO, will lead the media branch while Wilhelm Taht, the current head of external products, will take the lead on the games side. According to the company, this corporate-wide policy change is what spurred Rantala to step down.
“We used to have a corporate model with centralized decisions, but that resulted into too slow reacting in very competitive markets,” chairman and main owner Kaj Hed told Reuters in an interview. “As the CEO will not be so hands-on anymore, he (Rantala) felt that it wasn’t for him anymore.”
Earlier in the year, reports confirmed that 2014 included Rovio’s first major profit decline due to a lessening interest by fans in the company’s physical consumer products like clothing and toys. Rovio’s profit decline from 2014 also led to the forecasting of impending decline this year, causing 213 jobs to be cut at the company back in October.
The Finnish developer’s Angry Birds franchise brought the company huge success, but has seen diminishing returns recently. At the time of the decline in profit announcement, Rantala hung hope on the impending launch of Angry Birds 2 and next summer’s The Angry Birds Movie as ways to bring the franchise back into the public consciousness.
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