Nicolo Laurent is stepping down as CEO of Riot Games and will be succeeded by the company’s current global president, Dylan Jadeja, according to an official statement from Riot. Laurent is moving into an advisory role to focus more on his family after six years in the CEO position. The CEO transition is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
Laurent has been a key part of Riot Games since the company was just a “40-person startup” in 2009, before taking on the CEO role in 2017. Under his leadership, Riot Games was accused of promoting a sexist “bro culture”. ”, in which Laurent was personally accused (and later acquitted) of sexual misconduct towards his former executive assistant.
Jadeja has been with Riot Games since joining as chief financial officer in 2011 and has held the position of global president since 2017. Laurent claims it took about three years to plan who would succeed him, for the first time in his 17- years of history, Riot has “looked both inside and outside the company to find the very best person for this role.”
“I imagine this news feels sudden, but honestly it’s a decision I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve been lucky enough to have a long and amazing journey with Riot,” Laurent wrote in an open letter. “While this chapter is coming to an end, I don’t see this as an end – I don’t plan on joining another company or starting a new one.” Laurent said he plans to stay with Riot as an advisor “for years to come”, and that more details about the transfer process will be shared with Jadeja in the coming weeks.
“It would be disingenuous to suggest that I have already defined all the answers and an action plan”
“As we look at the transition, it would be disingenuous for me to suggest that I’ve already defined all the answers and an action plan,” Jadeja said in his own open letter to Riot fans. “As CEO, it’s reasonable to assume that I might be doing some things differently from the last, but I want to assure you that the goal for us — together — won’t waver. And that is to unequivocally make Riot the most trusted and authentic gaming company in the world… built by players, for players.”
In a 2018 study by my city, several former female Riot employees reported being sexually harassed, groomed for promotions, and given unsolicited genitalia photos. One of Riot’s male senior leaders was described as regularly grabbing his genitals and farting in his employee’s face during meetings. Laurent was not mentioned during the my city expose.
A report published by Wired claims, however, that in 2021, Laurent protected some of the most problematic employees who held leadership positions at the company during this time, as noted by Dexerto. Riot paid $100 million to settle the 2018 discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed by eight female former employees of the company.