Sumo Group has appointed co-founder Darren Mills as its new director of excellence and integration, and promoted Jim Woods to succeed him as Sumo Sheffield’s new studio director.
While Mills is one of the company’s three co-founders, Woods joined Sumo Sheffield in 2017 as senior development director. Prior to Sumo, he worked at Cross Products, Gremlin Interactive, DMA Design, Codemasters, and spent 11 years at SEGA Europe and SEGA Studios Australia.
“I’m delighted to announce two new senior appointments. It is vital, as we continue to grow and integrate new businesses and studios into the Group, that we constantly keep our culture, policies, processes and practises under review,” said Paul Porter, COO, Sumo Group. “This ensures they are aligned to support our growth and remain fit for purpose both for the Group and for our people.
“To this end, I am pleased to confirm that Darren Mills will be taking up the role of ‘Director of Excellence & Integration’. As a co-founder of Sumo, Darren is the perfect candidate to add value and make an impact in this important role within the Group. It is testimony to the strength of our management team that we can replace Darren with Jim Woods. Jim worked with Sumo for over a decade before joining the company in 2017. His experience and pragmatism have put him in great stead to lead our largest studio.”
“I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to run Sumo Sheffield. Darren has done a fantastic job for the past 4 years and I hope to build on that success moving forwards,” added Jim Woods, studio director, Sumo Sheffield. “The combination of talented people and exciting projects will allow Sumo Sheffield to showcase the quality of games we are capable of delivering and further enhance the strong reputation that each of our studios enjoy in the games industry.”
“This new, key role allows us to focus on our values and goals, enabling us to effectively action change and make Sumo Group studios some of the best places to work in the industry,” concluded Darren Mills, director of excellence and integration, Sumo Group. “I’ll be leading a broad range of projects, delving into the detail of what it’s like to work at Sumo and how that experience can improve.”
Sumo Digital acquired The Chinese Room – which has since added a number of new staff “across a variety of disciplines” to its team – in a surprise move in August 2018. The move is an important one for Sumo and IPO, with the company having previously been almost exclusively a work-for-hire studio.
Since then, Sumo Group has expanded its team to establish two brand-new training and education posts – Jenny Muhlwa will enhance and increase internal training across Sumo Digital, Atomhawk, Red Kite Games, and The Chinese Room as learning and development manager, whilst Dr Jake Habgood’s new position as director of education partnerships see them build “closer external relationships with educational partners to strengthen Sumo’s talent pipeline”.
The company also recently opened its seventh UK based studio, Sumo North West, in Warrington. Led by Scott Kirkland, the studio joins other studios across the UK in Leamington Spa, Sheffield, Nottingham, Brighton, Newcastle, and Leeds, as well as a further studio in Pune, India. Sumo Digital only moved into its new Leamington Spa office earlier this year, but already the studio is moving onto bigger premises.