Daniel Alegre, the COO of Activision Blizzard, the company that made hit game franchises Call of Duty, DOOM, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, among others, is leaving the gaming behemoth to become the CEO of Yuga Labs, the organization that created the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Nicole Muniz, the original and current CEO of Yuga, will continue to serve in that capacity. Wylie Aronow, a co-founder of Yuga, stated in a press release:
“Nicole, Greg, and I have been on the hunt for someone with Daniel’s skill set for some time.”
To aid with work on initiatives like Otherside, its metaverse gaming platform, the cryptocurrency startup sought to employ a gaming industry experience as CEO. Alegre is qualified since he served as an executive for brands like Candy Crush, World of Warcraft, and Call of Duty. Additionally, he spent more than 16 years working at Google, holding positions like president of Global and Strategic Partnerships.
Yuga Labs secured $450 million from Andreessen Horowitz at a $4 billion value in March, before major crypto meltdowns like the collapse of FTX and Terra's UST. The cost to purchase your way into the Bored Ape Yacht Club had declined by 82% from its high in April following last month's FTX shock, according to Decrypt. But Alegre doesn't appear to have been hindered by the larger industry worries.
“Since exploding onto the scene with Bored Ape Yacht Club in 2021, Yuga Labs has quickly made a name for itself through a powerful combination of storytelling and community-building,” said Alegre in a statement. “The company’s pipeline of products, partnerships, and IP represents a massive opportunity to define the metaverse in a way that empowers creators and provides users with true ownership of their identity and digital assets.”
Alegre is not the first significant gaming executive to go to cryptocurrencies. Ryan Wyatt became CEO of Polygon Studios in January, resigning from his post as head of YouTube Gaming.
Although moving from a well-established senior position into a turbulent sector may seem dangerous, Activision Blizzard has itself seen plenty of strife. The CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, was found to have known about widespread sexual harassment at the firm for years but did nothing about it, according to a Wall Street Journal story from last year. Activision Blizzard employees have been protesting the company's inadequate response to continuous sexual harassment charges for more than a year, which in part served as the impetus for a historic union movement in the gaming sector. However, Alegre was caught in the crossfire as workers were setting up two officially recognized unions.
Activision Blizzard was found to have unlawfully withheld salaries from employees who were organizing a union in October, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB heard through evidence that Alegre had promised to go to Wisconsin to meet with subsidiary Raven Software's unionizing QA testers. However, because it can result in coercion, this technique would be against the National Labor Relations Act. Since Alegre's planned meeting would not be required and would not address complaints, Activision Blizzard at the time informed TechCrunch that the business rejected the truth of the accusation. Moreover, the meeting never happened.
The ownership of Activision Blizzard in the future is likewise uncertain. Microsoft and the game firm have a deal in place for Microsoft to purchase it for $68.7 billion, making it one of the most costly tech purchases in history. The Federal Trade Commission, however, is currently seeking to stop the purchase because they believe it would hinder competition.
According to an SEC filing, Alegre's employment with Activision Blizzard will finish at the end of March. Alegre will assume leadership in the first part of 2023, according to Yuga.