Bored Apes creator Yuga Labs appoints Activision’s Daniel Alegre as CEO ExamPaper

Activision Blizzard COO Daniel Alegre is leaving the gaming giant to become CEO of Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Yuga’s first and current CEO, Nicole Muniz, will remain as a strategic advisor.

“Nicole, Greg and I have been looking for someone with Daniel’s skills for a while now,” said Yuga co-founder Wylie Aronow in a press release. The crypto company wanted to appoint a gaming veteran as CEO to help with projects such as Otherside, its metaverse gaming platform. As an executive who oversaw franchises like “Call of Duty,” “World of Warcraft,” and “Candy Crush,” Alegre is a perfect fit. He also spent over sixteen years at Google, in roles as President of Global and Strategic Partnerships.

In March, ahead of crypto meltdowns like the implosion of FTX and Terra’s UST, Yuga Labs raised $450 million from Andreessen Horowitz at a valuation of $4 billion. After last month’s FTX bomb dropped, the price to buy your entry to the Bored Ape Yacht Club was down 82% since its peak in April, according to Decrypt. But the industry’s bigger concerns don’t seem to hold Alegre back.

“Since Yuga Labs burst onto the scene in 2021 with Bored Ape Yacht Club, it has quickly made a name for itself through a powerful combination of storytelling and community building,” Alegre said in a statement. “The company’s pipeline of products, partnerships and IP presents a tremendous opportunity to define the metaverse in a way that empowers creators and gives users real ownership over their identities and digital assets.”

Alegre is not the first major gaming executive to switch to crypto. In January, Ryan Wyatt left his role as head of YouTube Gaming to become CEO of Polygon Studios.

The leap from an established executive role to a volatile industry may seem risky, but Activision Blizzard itself is riddled with conflict. A Wall Street Journal report last year found that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick had known about rampant sexual harassment at the company for years but failed to act. For more than a year, Activision Blizzard employees have been protesting the company’s poor handling of persistent sexual harassment allegations, which sparked, in part, a historic union movement for the games industry. But as workers set out to form two formally recognized unions, Alegre was caught in the crossfire.

In October, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that Activision Blizzard was illegally withholding wages from workers engaged in union activities. In testimony, the NLRB learned that Alegre offered to fly to Wisconsin to speak with unionized QA testers at subsidiary Raven Software. However, this practice would be barred by the National Labor Relations Act as it could lead to coercion. At the time, Activision Blizzard told ExamPaper that the company denied the accuracy of the complaint, since Alegre’s proposed meeting would not be mandatory and would not address grievances. Moreover, the meeting never took place.

Activision Blizzard’s future ownership is also up in the air. Microsoft has an agreement with the gaming company to acquire it for $68.7 billion, one of the most expensive tech acquisitions in history. But now the Federal Trade Commission is suing to block the deal, claiming it would strangle competition.

Alegre’s term with Activision Blizzard expires at the end of March, according to an SEC filing. Yuga says Alegre will take over in the first half of 2023.

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