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Linden Lab selects Mark Kingdon as new CEO

By choosing someone squarely on the business side of things, the 'Second Life' creator may be hinting that it wants to beef up business and head for an IPO.

Second Life creator Linden Lab has selected digital-strategy veteran Mark Kingdon as its new CEO, following Philip Rosedale's resignation from the post last month. Rosedale will remain chairman of the company's board.

"Our search for the leader of Linden Lab demanded both tremendous business skills and a deep understanding and passion for Second Life and where it is going. Mark is the perfect choice," Rosedale said in a statement, acknowledging that Linden Lab's new chief needed to know how to run a business, not just come up with cool ideas.

Kingdon comes equipped with an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, as well as more than a half decade's worth of experience running digital-ad agency Organic.

Kingdon will take over the CEO post on May 15.

Hiring a "business guy" to helm Linden Lab, rather than someone with a background in social networking or gaming, may be a sign that the company wants to achieve some corporate momentum and eventually go public.

But before that, the company needs to get its act together. Second Life hasn't lived up to the breathless marketing hype of a year or two ago, and its chief technology officer left in December amid reported disputes.

Linden Lab's management is likely counting on Kingdon to sort things out.

"His management style, unwavering leadership in the face of great challenges, and approach to team-building exactly matches Linden's needs," Rosedale said in the release. "He is a passionate believer in the potential of virtual worlds to change the world, and I look forward to working by his side while we watch it happen."