John Smedley will no longer be president and CEO of Daybreak Game Company, the studio formerly known as Sony Online Entertainment.
The MMO publisher confirmed Smedley will be stepping down and that current COO Russell Shanks will replace him, according to GamesBeat. Smedley will be taking a break before returning to a new position at the company.
“I can confirm that John Smedley will be taking some time off from the company for the near-term and transitioning to a different role to be determined,” a spokesperson told the site. “Upon finalisation of his plans, further communication will be provided.”
The news follows hot on the heels of a public dispute between Smedley and Julius Kivimaki, a convicted cybercriminal and member of notorious hacker group Lizard Squad. Kivimaki was recently found guilty of 50,000 computer-related crimes – some of which were against Daybreak’s games – but did not receive jail time.
Smedley expressed outraged at this via Twitter, pointing out that Kivimaki was one of the people behind a bomb threat that grounded a plane the CEO was flying on. He even called out Kivimaki specifically, saying he would “coming for” him.
This threat only proved to provoke more cyberattacks Daybreak and its servers.