Unity (U) CEO & Chairman of the Board John Riccitiello steps down

John Riccitiello is out as Unity's CEO following a series of bungled monetization announcements from the game engine company.


Unity CEO John Riccitiello has stepped down from all of his roles at the company following a tumultuous few months. 

John Riccitiello seen here trying to do something with his hands.
John Riccitiello seen here trying to do something with his hands.

The company issued a press release to announce the management leadership changes. "James M. Whitehurst has been appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer, President and a member of the Board. Roelof Botha, Lead Independent Director of the Unity Board, has been appointed Chairman. Mr. Riccitiello will continue to advise Unity to ensure a smooth transition."

“It’s been a privilege to lead Unity for nearly a decade and serve our employees, customers, developers and partners, all of whom have been instrumental to the Company’s growth,” Mr. Riccitiello said. “I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the Company’s future success.”

“Working with Unity under John's leadership has been one of the highlights of my career. John joined the Unity Board in 2013 and stepped in to lead the Company in 2014, at a time when we faced significant challenges,” Mr. Botha said. “John has led Unity through incredible growth over the last nearly 10 years, helping us transition from a perpetual license to a subscription model, enabling developers to monetize, building other game services to serve our creator community, leading us through an IPO and positioning us as a pioneer in the developer community. Unity would not be where it is today without the impact of his contributions. I remain excited for the future of Unity.”

Unity management has been under fire following the company's bungled announcement of runtime fees. Less than a month ago, Unity had to close two office locations after receiving death threats from one of the company's own employees. Riccitiello also shoved his foot in his mouth in July 2022 when he called mobile developers who don't bake monetization into their development plan "idiots." 

It's no secret that Riccitiello is not liked by many people in the video game industry, with failed stints at several companies. In fact, John Riccitiello's track record as CEO has been pretty terrible. It's always amazing to see companies give him another shot, so while today may be cause for celebration by developers who have been making games with Unity, it may only be a matter of time before Riccitiello is back again at the helm of another company.


Asif Khan is the CEO, EIC, and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 9, 2023 2:40 PM

    Asif Khan posted a new article, Unity (U) CEO & Chairman of the Board John Riccitiello steps down

    • reply
      October 9, 2023 1:39 PM

      Unity CEO is stepping down


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        October 9, 2023 1:42 PM

        Lol basically a handsomely paid arsonist. I’m sure he will fail upward or at least laterally so he can burn down the next company with colossally bad decision making.

        Reminds me of David Zaslav.

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        October 9, 2023 1:42 PM

        you mean they are announcing him leaving. he was probably out before this

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        October 9, 2023 1:43 PM

        hope he lands on his feet at another C suite job elsewhere :(

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          October 9, 2023 4:32 PM

          JohnR: I alone can save battlefield, with this one weird CEO grade trick

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        October 9, 2023 2:05 PM

        Dude is a failure everywhere he goes

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        October 9, 2023 2:07 PM

        He sounds like a great dude

        On 5 June 2019, Anne Evans, formerly vice-president in human resources for Unity Technologies, filed a sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit against the company, stating that Riccitiello sexually harassed her. Unity Technologies responded that Evans' allegations were false and that she had been terminated due to misconduct and lapse in judgment.

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          October 10, 2023 4:29 AM

          Let me guess, the lapse in judgement was not wanting to bang John Riccitiello.

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        October 9, 2023 3:36 PM

        LOL wow what a career limiting/ending move that was.

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        October 9, 2023 3:43 PM

        I am trying to think of hos tenure at EA and if he did anything positive there.

        Not that he needs to work but I wonder where he will turn up next.

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          October 9, 2023 6:36 PM

          internally, there WAS a lot of stuff in there that was good in the 07-09 period... i think a lot of it revolved around being willing to take risks, even though it seems like they kinda ate shit financially when they tried haha.

          - EA Partners remained great. they helped publish/distribute stuff like Rock Band, Crysis, Rage, Brutal Legend, etc while explicitly not doing the traditional 'we own your ass' relationship that publishers had at the time.
          - they were the lone major supporter of some stuff that seemed obvious in hindsight - EA was the only big studio giving the Wii full support right out of the gate, like 'we're releasing our big games AND we're trying to incorporate the unique platform/controls instead of just porting...'
          - similarly, they were also fully in support of digital distribution early on, and had Valve's back with publshing The Orange Box and Left 4 Dead - and had their own digital distribution platform working in 06-ish
          - there was a lot of 'well, they're the ones who know how to make the games, so let them do it i guess.' some big games were delayed a LONG, LONG, time, even though it was never talked about (eg i'm not talking about Spore, haha). if the game still didn't work out, they seemed to still have no chill though haha

          but yeah, 07-09 had a lot of games where they were willing to let something out of the ordinary happen, whether or not it worked out... burnout paradise (open world cause criterion wanted to, even if the EA brass thought it was a bad idea + the months of free DLC support), c&c/red alert 3 (throwback!), dead space, dragon age and mass effect 2, mirror's edge, skate, spore...

          that said... watching the rest of what Riccitello has done, I feel like a lot of the 'good' in there may have just been existing momentum that he didn't have a hand in, especially only reappearing in 2007 alongside the bioware/pandemic acquisition. especially watching how the direction the company started to take 2010+

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        October 9, 2023 3:44 PM

        He would actually fit in well at Twitter, and it's in the same town so....

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        October 9, 2023 3:55 PM

        Surely got a huge payday to take a long vaca .

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        October 9, 2023 4:09 PM

        This is the only hope they have of recovering from this disaster. Even then, it better be extremely hard for them to come back from it. Devs should move away unless they offer better terms than competing engines and prove their course for years to come.

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        October 9, 2023 4:20 PM

        Notably, Unity’s new interim CEO is an outsider: Whitehurst is an advisor at Silver Lake, a private equity firm that owns about 9 percent of Unity. (He also spent 12 years as CEO of Red Hat, an IBM subsidiary known for a specific flavor of Linux.)


        lol good luck

        how did this guy get picked?

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      October 9, 2023 4:41 PM

      Too late, I won’t use Unity ever again.

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      October 9, 2023 6:11 PM

      Hey theres always Yahoo!

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      October 10, 2023 12:43 AM

      Without board changes people would be foolish to expect much to be different going forward.

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      October 10, 2023 1:21 AM

      Colonel Cargill was so awful a marketing executive that his services were much sought after by firms eager to establish losses for tax purposes. His prices were high, for failure often did not come easily. He had to start at the top and work his way down, and with sympathetic friends in Washington, losing money was no simple matter. It took months of hard work and careful misplanning. A person misplaced, disorganized, miscalculated, overlooked everything and open every loophole, and just when he thought he had it made, the government gave him a lake or a forest or an oilfield and spoiled everything. Even with such handicaps, Colonel Cargill could be relied on to run the most prosperous enterprise into the ground. He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.


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