CEO of League of Legends developer is stepping down, will remain in advisory role "for years"


Nicolo Laurent, the CEO of League of Legends developer Riot Games, is stepping down.

Riot's current president, A. Dylan Jadeja, will replace Laurent as Riot's CEO when the transition completes at some point later this year. Laurent, meanwhile, will stay with Riot in an advisory capacity for "years to come."

Laurent explained in a letter that he's been considering stepping down as CEO for some time to spend more time with his family.

"It's really the personal trade-offs that have been hard and the sacrifices my wife and kids have made for my career, including all our expatriations," said Laurent. "We've always been ok with this as a family, as long as we rebalance at some point. Now is that time. Especially since we miss France so much, and want to move back."

"While this chapter is coming to a close, I don't view this as an end — I don't plan on joining another company or starting a new company," he added. "I love Riot, and I genuinely believe this is the best place in the world to make games… now more than ever."

Riot said the search for a new CEO lasted about three years, in which time "a lot of incredible candidates" were considered, but ultimately Jadeja received a unanimous vote.

"Today, as we start our next chapter, I'm more excited than I’ve ever been about our future," Jadeja said. "I truly believe that our success will depend on our ability to empower our creative heart while staying resolute on our mission for players, no matter how difficult the environment or the situation. As we face new challenges and opportunities, if we can stay true to this, I would bet on us to not only succeed, but to set a new bar for what’s possible for players."

"As CEO, it is fair to assume that I may do some things differently than those before me, but I want to assure you that the goal for us — together — will not waver," he added. "And that is to make Riot, unequivocally, the most trusted and authentic game company in the world… built by players, for players. The kind of place where people know that everything they play and experience from Riot will be amazing and that everything we do is focused on making it better to be a player."

Laurent has been part of Riot's leadership since 2009, taking over as CEO in 2017. In 2018, Kotaku published an exhaustive report detailing an alleged "culture of sexism" at the company. Three months after that, Riot was hit was a class-action lawsuit for gender discrimination that included wide-ranging allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, one of which was directed at Laurent himself.

Riot soon after published a blog post explaining how it planned to address these complaints, and later hired a crisis management law firm to investigate the reports. However, the lawsuit was inconclusive and no action was taken. At the time, Laurent, along with two other senior members of Riot's leadership team, vowed to resign if the company culture didn't significantly improve by 2019. Then-president of games Scott Gelb, the subject of several allegations of sexual misconduct, was suspended for two months in December of 2018.

While Gelb currently isn't listed on Riot's website as part of its leadership team, his individual profile is still live and his LinkedIn account still says he's employed by the company. No other changes to Riot's leadership have been made until now.