The controversial Unity CEO John Riccitiello has announced he will retire as Chief Executive Officer and member of the company’s Board of Directors. In his stead, James M. Whitehurst will be appointed interim CEO. Additionally, the board will also start a comprehensive search process to find a permanent CEO.
The ex-CEO is currently stated to advise the current interim CEO “to ensure a smooth transition” and is also said to “look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the Company’s future success.”
In the wake of the Unity Runtime fee controversy that happened a few weeks ago, this announcement doesn’t seem very surprising, especially following the massive backlash that followed not just from the community but also from angered developers who threatened to stop using Unity as a backend engine for their projects.
The Runtime Fee was a point of contention among developers and the gaming community alike as this model would see developers charged a fee based on the number of installs done on a game. Following the backlash, Unity walked back several aspects of this controversial policy. Riccitiello’s tenure as the CEO of Unity faced many controversies after departing Electronic Arts and joining Unity in 2014.
As for what Unity will have to look forward to from now on, James M. Whitehurst is an experienced executive who worked as a Senior Advisor and President at IBM. The executive joined IBM through its acquisition of Red Hat and served as president and CEO from 2008 to 2020.