Last August Pekka Rantala took over the role of Rovio CEO from co-founder Mikael Hed, but just over a year later he's already stepping down. He's to be replaced by Kati Levoranta, former chief legal officer for the Angry Birds maker. Rantala says that "I feel now the time is right for me to step aside and move on to new challenges."
Despite being in the role for a relatively short period, Rantala presided over a tumultuous time for the game developer. Last October the company laid off 130 employees, and followed that up with 260 more job cuts in August, more than 30 percent of its workforce. The initial, unexpected success of Angry Birds caused the company to expand in many directions, including not only games but an incredible amount of merchandise, as well, ranging from toys to theme parks. Yet it never managed to follow up Angry Birds with another big hit. In August Rantala admitted that "we did too many things."
According to Rovio chairman Kaj Hed, the company will continue to streamline its operations as it focuses primarily on games and media. "As we move into the next phase of the Rovio story, we will be getting back to our entrepreneurial roots with the leaner, more agile organization that Pekka leaves us with," he says. The company also appears to be putting a lot of faith in the upcoming Angry Birds movie, which is due to release next year.
"We are now positioned to make the most of the release of The Angry Birds Movie in May," says new CEO Levoranta, "and some exciting developments in the games and consumer products portfolios throughout 2016."