Hi Rez appoints new CEO as founder Erez Goren steps down after 15 years

Erez Goren, Hi Rez founder and CEO, is stepping down after fifteen years leading the company. He will be succeeded by Stew Chisam, the company’s current VP of operations.

The studio split into three multiple wholly-owned development studios last year, comprising of Titan Forge Games which develops SMITE, Evil Mojo, which works on Paladins, and Heroic Leap, which focuses on Realm Royale, all of which are supported by Alacrity Arthouse, which provides "various art services".

"This change has been critical to giving our development teams the structure, resources and feeling of personal ownership they need to best support their players and games into the future," Chisam said in a recent blog update. "2018 was by far the best yet for Hi-Rez. Looking ahead to 2019, we are more excited than ever before about the future."

While Chsiam takes the role of CEO, Goren will "continue to have input on the company strategy and the fantastic gaming experiences and communities [Hi Rez] create[s]" by continuing to serve as chairman of the board. He also remains as the majority owner.

Additionally, Chris Larson has stepped up to assume responsibility for "running all of [Hi Rez’s] game studios and driving forward [its] various creative development teams". 

"This is a natural transition for Chris, who ran SMITE for many years and most recently navigated the Paladins team through a crucial point in its lifecycle in 2018," Chisam added. "In this expanded role, Chris will ensure that each game studio is taking advantage of best practices learned elsewhere in the company, and that they have the necessary resources needed for success."

"2018 exceeded our growth expectations on almost every metric. We saw very strong revenue growth across the company, and that has translated to continue[d] employee growth and the ability to make other long-term investments on our side," Chisam told GI.biz. "We have over 450 employees now, plus a strong network of outside companies that we utilize for contracting work. That scale gives us the ability to take on projects we could have only dreamed about a short time ago, which is very exciting and, we hope, sets us up for more growth over the coming years."

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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