In a recent official statement, Riot Games has revealed that Nicolo Laurent, the CEO of the company, will be stepping down from his position. Dylan Jadeja, the current global president, has been appointed as Laurent’s successor. This strategic CEO transition comes after Laurent’s successful six-year tenure, with the change expected to be finalized by the end of 2023.
Nicolo Laurent has been an integral part of Riot Games since its early days as a “40-person startup” in 2009. After assuming the role of CEO in 2017, he has played a crucial role in shaping the company’s trajectory. However, Laurent’s leadership has also faced criticism, including allegations of fostering a sexist work environment. He was personally accused of sexual misconduct against his former executive assistant, but these allegations were later cleared.
Dylan Jadeja, who joined Riot Games as Chief Financial Officer in 2011 and has held the position of global president since 2017, has been chosen as the ideal candidate to succeed Laurent. The selection process for the new CEO took approximately three years and involved considering both internal and external candidates. This marks the first time in Riot’s 17-year history that the company has sought a CEO from outside its ranks.
Nicolo Laurent expressed his decision to step down in an open letter, acknowledging that while the news may seem sudden, it has been a well-considered choice. He stated that his departure does not signify an end but rather a new chapter in his journey, allowing him to focus more on his family. Laurent intends to remain involved with Riot Games as an advisor for the foreseeable future, ensuring a smooth transition. Further details regarding the handover process to Dylan Jadeja will be shared in the upcoming weeks.
Addressing Riot’s passionate community, Dylan Jadeja shared his thoughts in an open letter, acknowledging that his leadership may bring about changes but assuring fans that the ultimate goal remains unwavering. Jadeja emphasized Riot’s commitment to becoming the most trusted and authentic game company globally, built by players, for players.
Riot Games has faced significant scrutiny in the past due to allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. In a 2018 investigation by Kotaku, former female employees shared accounts of harassment, grooming for promotions, and receiving unsolicited explicit images. Although Nicolo Laurent was not specifically named in the Kotaku report, a 2021 Wired article claimed that he protected certain problematic employees in leadership positions. As a result, Riot Games settled a discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed by eight former female employees, paying a substantial $100 million settlement.
The CEO transition at Riot Games signifies a pivotal moment for the company as Nicolo Laurent steps down and Dylan Jadeja assumes the role. This change comes amidst ongoing efforts to address past issues and create a more inclusive and respectful work environment. As Riot Games continues its mission to build trust and authenticity within the gaming industry, the company remains dedicated to its players and the community it serves.