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Frontier Developments Founder Steps Down As CEO After 28 Years

by Rainier on Aug. 10, 2022 @ 11:11 a.m. PDT

Developer/publisher Frontier Developments announces a number of changes to its Board of Directors to take Frontier into its next chapter of growth.

Frontier has announced David Braben’s transition to his new role of President and Founder, with Jonny Watts, currently Chief Creative Officer, being appointed as CEO, effective from today, to lead the next phase of the Company’s evolution.

After 28 years leading Frontier’s rise to become one of the world’s leading independent games companies, David Braben commented: “Frontier is very important to me, and I am delighted to be able to pass on my CEO responsibilities to the exceptionally talented Jonny Watts, who I know will do a terrific job. He has the perfect combination of creative leadership and gaming vision to build on the excellent momentum in the business. I am looking forward to my new role at Frontier, and this change enables me to focus on our longer-term strategic opportunities.”

David Braben will transition into the newly created role of President and Founder, an Executive Director position, where he will retain his leadership and vision for Frontier’s strategic direction, whilst maintaining and building key relationships within the games industry and the wider digital entertainment sector.

As CEO, Jonny Watts will build on an exceptional track record at Frontier having worked closely with David Braben for over 24 years, and as Chief Creative Officer since 2012. The partnership has delivered outstanding success for the Company, including the substantial value created over the last decade from Frontier’s transition to self-publishing, development of a portfolio of high-quality games played by millions around the world, and record revenue (unaudited) of £114m in FY22. Jonny has been key to the Company’s major game successes over recent years, and he has also been instrumental in establishing and delivering Frontier’s successful Develop, Launch and Nurture strategy, which delivers long-term value to both Frontier’s players and investors. In his new role as CEO, Jonny will be responsible for all aspects of day-to-day leadership and delivery against Frontier’s operational and longer term strategic plans.

Commenting on his appointment, Jonny Watts said: “I am excited to step up and lead Frontier into the next chapter of our growth. We have an amazing team and an exceptional culture of high-quality creativity and inclusivity. I’m looking forward to working with David and the wider Board to take us to still greater success. We look forward with great confidence”.

Chairman

Frontier has also announced that David Gammon will retire as Chairman in December 2022 after serving his full term on the board. David Gammon will be succeeded by David Wilton who will join the Board as an Independent Non-Executive Director and Chairman Designate on 22 September 2022, becoming Chairman when David Gammon retires in December 2022.

David Wilton brings a wealth of experience of high growth businesses across multiple sectors, including games. Most recently, he has been CFO of Sumo Group plc from where he will be retiring on 31 October 2022. He is an experienced Non-Executive Director, consultant and qualified chartered accountant with many years in corporate finance, primarily in mid cap M&A with Rothschild & Co. He is currently a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of CVS Group plc, the AIM quoted veterinary services group.

David Gammon said: “I am very pleased that David Wilton is succeeding me. Chairing the Board of Frontier over the last 10 years has been a tremendous privilege. Frontier is an exceptional business with a portfolio of games which entertain millions around the world. It has been a great pleasure to oversee its growth and transformation including our listing on the stock exchange and scale-up to a world class gaming business of 800 people. With Jonny becoming CEO and David Braben still closely involved, David Wilton will have an outstanding team to work with. I am immensely grateful to my fellow board members for their support and hard work during my tenure as Chairman. I wish Frontier the very best for the future.”

David Wilton said: “I am thrilled to be joining Frontier’s Board. I have known David Braben for many years and have watched the business with great interest. Jonny Watts is an exceptional leader and I am looking forward to working with him. Frontier is an amazing company making great games and has been a tremendous success story. I look forward to playing a part in Frontier’s future success as we take advantage of the manyopportunities ahead”.

Chief Operating Officer

Also effective from today, James Dixon, Frontier’s current Senior Director of Operations, has joined the Board as Chief Operating Officer. James has worked with David Braben and Jonny Watts for over 24 years and has been integral to Frontier’s success over that time, particularly during the significant scale-up phases of the last decade. James will provide support to Jonny Watts in his new CEO role, and to the whole Board, as Frontier continues to grow and evolve.

Company Secretary

Jessica Bourne, Frontier’s current Head of Legal, has been promoted into the role of General Counsel and Company Secretary, effective from today. Jessica joined Frontier in October 2020 and has provided excellent support throughout that time. She is a qualified Solicitor having broad experience of in-house practice in a number of organisations including PA Consulting Group. Jessica has previous experience of the games industry from her time at Ninja Theory Limited and their acquisition by Microsoft in 2018.

Jessica will take over company secretarial responsibilities from Alex Bevis, Chief Financial Officer, which will allow Alex to focus more time on strategic planning and stakeholder management. It will also provide an improved segregation of duties, and will deliver clear leadership across the distinct areas of finance (Alex) and legal (Jessica). Alex will continue to be responsible for all aspects of HR in addition to his finance and investor relations responsibilities.

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