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Philip Rosedale to step down as Linden Lab CEO

Founder of virtual world Second Life has announced that he plans to resign when the company finds a replacement, but that he will stay on as chairman of the board.

Philip Rosedale, CEO of Second Life creator Linden Lab and founder of the virtual world, announced Friday that he will step down from his post.

He assured Second Life enthusiasts that he would remain on full-time at the company as chairman of the board.

Rosedale, known in Second Life by his avatar's name Philip Linden, did not provide a concrete date for his change in role, only saying that the company has "decided to search for a new CEO."

James Martin/CNET

He continued: "This is a decision driven by my desire to best grow SL and match my job to both our needs and my passions. We don't have a specific timeline, and I don't expect my job to change while we are looking for someone."

It sounds like the company is looking for a veteran business professional rather than a futurist visionary. "I feel that the most important contributions I have made and will continue to make to Second Life are related to building both the product and the company through my direct contributions to vision, strategy, and design," Rosedale wrote in a post on the official Second Life blog.

"As we grow, the role of our CEO will increasingly be to hire and grow the right team--to lead and help the company scale--to thousands of people and tens of millions of users of Second Life."

Corporate upheaval at Linden Lab has been going on for some time now. In December, Chief Technology Officer Cory Ondrejka left the company, and leaked e-mails seemed to indicate that Rosedale had fired him over creative differences.

Second Life, meanwhile, has been going through some rough patches outside of the boardroom. A series of banking scandals earlier this year led the virtual world to effectively ban in-world banks. Issues with vandalism and political radicalism briefly shook the community, and it has still failed to rebound from the backlash that followed in the wake of breathless media hype about virtual worlds.

These days, when you hear about Second Life in the mainstream media, it's coming from dweeby Dwight Schrute on The Office. Linden Lab likely hopes to pull in a CEO who can change that.