Mikael Hed, CEO and co-founder of "Angry Birds" creator Rovio, is stepping down at the end of the year. He'll be replaced by Chief Commerical Officer Pekka Rantala, who also spent 14 years working at Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia.
“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,” Hed said in a statement. “Pekka is known to be a great leader with experience building successful global consumer brands. I will continue to play an active role and will support Pekka in any way I can to ensure Rovio’s continued success.”
Rovio Entertainment Limited is a video game developer based in Espoo, Finland, best known for the "Angry Birds” franchise that took off in 2009 and led to a worldwide boom in smarphone-based mobile gaming. Rovio has created multiple spinoffs of the game as well as merchandise and even planned theme parks. We’ve seen “Angry Birds” clothing, candy, toys, cookbooks and even beverages. “Angry Birds” has also had a number of installments, including “Angry Birds Transformers,” “Angry Birds Epic” and “Angry Birds Star Wars.”
It has attemped to create new brands with releases like 2014’s “Word Monsters” and 2013’s “Tiny Thief,” but it has been unable to create a follow-up that remotely compares. Net profits fell 50 percent in 2013 to $37 million, compared with the previous year, while revenue rose slightly, to $216 million, from about $200 million in 2012.
Hed’s decision to step down as CEO comes at a turning point for the company. Though “Angry Birds” experienced massive success for a number of years, the popularity of the game is dwindling due to the number of new and addictive smartphone apps. Rovio’s ventures apart from the gaming realm are sometimes profitable, but seem unable to reach financial success without the core success of the “Angry Birds” games.
Rantala will assume the position of CEO on Jan. 1, 2015. Rovio plans to launch its full-length animated “Angry Birds” film in 2016.