Angry Birds maker Rovio taps new CEO for 2015

Mikael Hed will step down as chief executive at the end of the year, turning the reins over to Pekka Rantala.

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Birdies and piggies, prepare yourselves for a new CEO. Rovio

Rovio, the game developer behind the wildly success Angry Birds franchise, will soon have a new chief executive.

Mikael Hed, the company's current CEO, is leaving his post at the end of the year. Rovio exec Pekka Rantala will take over the Finland-based company on January 1, the game developer announced Friday.

Although Hed won't be running day-to-day operations at Rovio, he will still play a role at the company. Rovio's board chairman, Kaj Hed, has nominated him to take a role on the board of directors. Mikael Hed will also serve as chairman of Rovio Animation Studios, so he can oversee the company's work on Animation and Movies.

The move comes as Rovio is facing more pressure than ever in the mobile-gaming space. Other games, like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans, are attracting millions of gamers around the world and the Angry Birds franchise is starting to lose just a small bit of its luster in the mobile-gaming space. That increased pressure has caused some financial troubles for Rovio. While the company still reported a profit at the end of of 2013, its 26.9 million euros in profit was far below the 55.5 million euro profit the company posted in 2012. In 2011, Rovio generated a 35.4 million euro profit.

It's possible, though not confirmed by Rovio, that the downswing prompted the company to look elsewhere for a new chief executive.

In Rantala, Rovio is getting an executive who has worked in an array of industries. Much of his career was spent at Nokia, where he most recently served as that company's senior vice president of marketing before a significant portion of Nokia was acquired by Microsoft. Prior to joining Rovio as chief commercial officer, Pekka was CEO at Hartwall, a Finland-based beverage company.

Rantala will have his work cut out for him. Rovio might have started as a mobile game developer, but has become a juggernaut with a multitude of moving parts. The Angry Birds success has prompted Rovio to expand into plush toys, digital content, and goods for kids. The company even has amusement parks based on the Angry Birds theme.

The main focus at Rovio right now, however, is an animated film the company is working on. That feature film is slated to premiere in July 2016.

According to Rovio, between now and 2015, Rantala and Hed will work closely together to ensure a smooth transition.

CNET has contacted Rovio for additional comment on the transition. We will update this story when we have more information.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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