Activision Blizzard CEO Daniel Alegre has resigned to become the CEO of Yuga Labs (the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club). Yuga’s first and current CEO, Nicole Muniz, will remain a strategic advisor.
“Nicole, Greg, and I have been on the hunt for someone with Daniel’s skill set for some time,” said Yuga co-founder Wylie Aronow in a press release.
To help with projects such as Otherside, the company’s metaverse gaming platform, the crypto company needed a gaming expert to serve as its CEO.
Alegre is a former executive for franchises such as Candy Crush, World of Warcraft, and Call of Duty. Google has also employed him for over 16 years in positions such as president, Global, and Strategic Partnerships.
Yuga Labs, founded in March before the crypto meltdowns such as Terra’s UST and FTX, raised $450 million from Andreessen Horowitz for a valuation of $4 billion.
The price to join the Bored Ape Yacht club has dropped 82% since April’s peak. However, Alegre has not been hampered by larger industry concerns.
“Since exploding onto the scene with Bored Ape Yacht Club in 2021, Yuga Labs has quickly made a name for itself through a powerful combination of storytelling and community-building,” said Alegre in a statement.
“The company’s pipeline of products, partnerships, and IP represents a massive opportunity to define the metaverse in a way that empowers creators and provides users with true ownership of their identity and digital assets.”
Alegre is one of many gaming executives to embrace crypto. Ryan Wyatt, previously the head of YouTube Gaming, became CEO of Polygon Studios in January. Although it might seem risky to jump from an executive position in a stable industry, Activision Blizzard has had its fair share of conflict.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard CEO, knew for years about the rampant sexual harassment in the company but failed to take action.
Activision Blizzard employees protested for over a year against the company’s poor handling of ongoing allegations of sexual harassment. This partly inspired a historic union movement within the gaming industry. However, Alegre was caught up in the crossfire as employees established two officially recognized unions.
In October, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that Activision Blizzard had illegally withheld wages from unionized workers.
The NLRB heard testimony that Alegre offered to fly from Canada to meet with unionizing QA testers from subsidiary Raven Software. The National Labor Relations Act would ban this practice, however, as it could lead to coercion.
Activision Blizzard stated to TechCrunch at the time that it denied the accuracy and completeness of the complaint. Alegre’s proposed meeting was not mandatory and would not address grievances. The meeting also has yet to take place. Activision Blizzard’s future ownership remains uncertain.
Microsoft and the gaming company have agreed to buy it for $68.7billion, making it one of the most expensive tech deals in history. The Federal Trade Commission wants to stop the deal because it would suppress competition.
According to an SEC filing, Alegre’s term with Activision Blizzard ends on March 31st. Yuga claims that Alegre will be the next in command in the first half of 2023.