UK games industry trade association UKIE has scored a coup in hiring its new CEO.
The organisation this morning confirmed that Dr Jo Twist – currently commissioning editor for education at UK broadcaster Channel 4 – will be joining as UKIE CEO from January 9th.
UKIE has been on the hunt for a new chief exec since the departure of its general manager Michael Rawlinson in late April.
The official note from UKIE confirming Twist’s appointment cites her ‘strong background in education, creative technology and youth culture’ as key to the hiring plus ‘her a wealth of experience in all aspects of interactive entertainment including media, technical innovation and creativity, commercial and political issues’.
Twist has been a major part of Channel 4’s proactive push into commissioning non-TV educational content, which include a portfolio of games including sex-education shooter Privates, The Curfew and Bow Street Runners. Channel 4's games have won awards from BAFTA and the Develop Industry Excellence Awards, amongst many others.
Previously, Twist was multiplatform commissioner for BBC Entertainment and Switch, plus BBC Three’s multiplatform channel editor.
Twist said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to join the brilliant UKIE team at a time when the British interactive entertainment industry is forging its path as a global leader.
“UKIE has already achieved so much in bringing the potential of our games industry to the national debate, and I am hugely excited to represent its members and help shape its vision for 2012 and on.
“I will of course be sad to be leaving the Channel 4 Education team who continue to produce award winning and innovative interactive content for young people.”
UKIE’s filling the CEO post follows months of interviews and research by the trade association. UKIE board members were keen to find a new exec befitting of its rebrand. The organisation changed its name from ELSPA in August 2010 and widened its remit beyond traditional PC & console games publishers to include developers, educators and technology firms.
Twist will oversee all of UKIE’s activity, which includes: offering networking events and access to market data and research for members; delivering the recommendations from the Livingstone Hope Skills review; a new MP contact programme which has seen UKIE meet with over 200 MPs in the last year; and a commitment to protecting members’ intellectual property online and offline.
Andy Payne, chairman of UKIE, commented: “We are really excited that Jo has agreed to lead UKIE at this really exciting time in our development.
“We took our time to find the right CEO and we believe we have her. Jo's passion for games and her background in media and commissioning content will allow us to further help UK games and interactive entertainment makers and all those involved in this industry get further political and economic traction in a connected, digital worldwide market which is teeming with exciting opportunities.
“I would also like to thank especially Rob Cooper, David Yarnton, Matt Carroll, Keith Ramsdale and Ian Livingstone who have helped UKIE appoint such a great person, it was a real team effort.”