“Angry Birds” maker Rovio Entertainment Ltd. said it plans to cut up to 130 jobs, just a little over a month after announcing CEO Mikael Hed will step down in January.
“We have been building our team on assumptions of faster growth than have materialized,” Hed said in a blog post on Thursday. “As a result, we announced today that we plan to simplify our organization around our three key businesses with the highest growth potential: games, media, and consumer products.
“Unfortunately, we also need to consider possible employee reductions of a maximum of 130 people in Finland (approximately 16 percent of workforce).”
Hed, who has led the Espoo, Finland-based video game developer since 2009, said the decision to lay off more than 100 employees was difficult.
“It is never easy to consider changes like this, but it is better to do them sooner rather than later, when we are in a good place to reignite growth,” he added.
In January, Pekka Rantala, currently Rovio's chief commercial officer, will succeed Hed as chief executive. His decision to vacate the CEO job and join the board of directors comes at a turning point for the company. While “Angry Birds” has experienced massive success for a number of years, the popularity of the game is dwindling as more new and addictive smartphone apps come out. Rovio’s ventures apart from the gaming realm are sometimes profitable, but they seem unable to reach financial success without the core success of the “Angry Birds” games.
When Hed announced in August that he would be stepping down as CEO, he said, “It has been an amazing ride, and in the coming months I will be very happy to pass the hoodie to Pekka Rantala, who will take Rovio to the next level.”
Rovio is best known for the "Angry Birds” game series and a related line of merchandise that took off in 2009, leading to a worldwide boom in smartphone-based mobile gaming. The company launched multiple spinoffs of the game and related products, and it had even planned theme parks around the title. Currently, there's “Angry Birds” clothing, candy, toys, cookbooks and even beverages. “Angry Birds” also has had a number of installments -- including “Angry Birds Transformers,” “Angry Birds Epic” and “Angry Birds Star Wars.”
Rovio plans to launch its full-length animated film, “Angry Birds,” in July 2016.