Esports Movers and Shakers: January 2023

03 February 2023


Jan 2023 Personnel
Image credit: Esports Insider

Each month, ESI compiles the period’s most significant esports movers and shakers. January’s overview features a lot of moves, ranging from new C-level executives to layoffs and everything in between.

Former FlyQuest CEO Michael Choi joined Cloud9, Tim Reichert was named the new EXCEL ESPORTS CEO, and a round of layoffs hit 100 Thieves.

Here are the top movers and shakers for January 2022. If you are interested in a story, click the link in the corresponding title!

Spotlighted story

100 thieves logo black background
Image credit: 100 Thieves

Los Angeles-based gaming and esports organisation 100 Thieves has undergone a wave of layoffs, amongst them Matty Lee, its former Chief Revenue Officer.

The exact number of departures is not yet clear, but The Jacob Wolf Report reported roughly 30 employees have been laid off. The organisation has around 200 employees according to its LinkedIn page.

The redundancies seem to have hit senior and junior roles alike, according to media reports and social media posts by former staff. The Jacob Wolf Report reported that the Vice President of IT, Director of People, Director of Talent, and Head of Partnerships had all been let go, alongside Lee.

excel tim reichert rosenbelle ganan
Image credit: EXCEL ESPORTS

British esports and gaming organisation EXCEL ESPORTS has named former Chief Operating Officer Tim Reichert as its new CEO.

Current CEO Wouter Sleijffers will take on the role of Strategic Advisor. Moreover, Rosenbelle Ganan has been appointed as EXCEL’s new Director of Operations and Legal Affairs.

Reichert is a well-known figure in the esports world. Prior to joining EXCEL, Reichert was the Head of Esports at Schalke 04 Esports and was one of the founders of SK Gaming. Reichert was COO and Esports Director at EXCEL prior to taking on the CEO role.

Cloud9 Michael Choi
Image credit: Cloud9

North American esports organisation Cloud9 has appointed Michael Choi as its Chief Product Officer.

In his new role, Choi will be responsible for the organisation’s product vision and strategy. Choi joins Cloud9 following a three-year spell at FlyQuest which saw him become CEO of the organisation between June and December 2022. By joining Cloud9, Choi reunites with Tricia Sugita who joined the organisation in June 2022 as its Chief Marketing Officer after departing her role as FlyQuest CEO.

Image credit: British Esports

British Esports, a national body created to support grassroots esports in the UK, has bolstered its advisory board with six new additions.

Joining the board are Kirsty Endfield (Founder of Swipe Right PR), Camilla Maurice (MidKent College’s Senior Partnerships Manager), Becky Wright (National Student Esports’ Senior Partnerships Manager), Shoubna Naika-Taylor (Coventry College’s Curriculum Manager of Digital), Sue Lavasani (Senior Account Manager of Heaven Media) and Professor Philip Wilson (College of Esports Chair of the Board).

Jacob Arce Xset
Image credit: XSET

North American esports organisation XSET has appointed its former Operations Manager Jacob Arce as the company’s new Head of Esports.

Arce will be responsible for the organisation’s competitive vertical, which includes rosters in VALORANT, Rocket League, Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex Legends, iRacing, and fighting games. Arce already has experience in the management of an esports organisation. Before joining XSET, he held the position of Co-general Manager at Ghost Gaming, where he was responsible for over 60 professional gamers and coaches. He also had experiences as a caster, covering a range of esports and working with companies such as Epic Games and Alienware, Dell’s gaming division.

Image credit: Shutterstock

UK-based esports organisation Guild Esports has announced three new members to its leadership team.

Luke Jones (formerly of Red Bull Racing) has been appointed Guild’s Director of Esports and Gaming, with Nick Westwood and Georgia Morison named Senior VP of Creative and Strategy and Head of Events and HQ, respectively.

The new hires come days after the appointment of Guild’s new CEO, Jasmine Skee, came into effect at the start of 2023. The new executive hires showcase Guild’s efforts to improve its esports and content strategies after a relatively tumultuous 2022 which saw then-CEO Kal Hourd step down and the organisation renegotiate its relationship with former football star David Beckham.

FAZE Clan Image
Image credit: FaZe Clan

North American esports organisation FaZe Clan has announced several appointments and promotions, including hiring Summer Martin as VP of Content Operations and naming Rana Kaplan as General Manager.

Prior to joining FaZe, Martin managed production operations for various TV series such as Netflix’s Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Kaplan has been at the organisation for five years as its Chief of Staff. Martin will be responsible for co-leading content strategy and operations with Stash Slionski, who has been promoted to Executive Producer. Meanwhile, Kaplan will oversee an operations team that focuses on ‘business process efficiency’.

rob martin xset
Image credit: XSET / Rob Martin

Rob Martin, the Co-Owner and Chief Experience Officer of North American esports and gaming organisation XSET, has stepped down from his role at the company.

Martin shared the news in a lengthy LinkedIn post but did not detail specific reasons for the departure. He did, however, highlight his journey with the organisation as well as his own personal journey in 2022.

Rob Martin joined XSET relatively recently as part of XSET’s acqui-hiring of talent agency Astoic Management. Martin founded Astoic with his partner Lonnie Anthony in 2013 and saw success in managing talent and brand relations. The company notably represented American rapper Offset and 2K Games Digital Marketing Director Ronnie Singh, as well as a number of other high-profile clients.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Former Esports Entertainment Group CEO Grant Johnson has filed a lawsuit against his former company for alleged breach of contract.

According to court documents from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Johnson is suing for damages that equate to over $3m (~£2.45m).

The documents claim that the esports betting and entertainment company terminated Johnson’s contract “for contrived reasons” that did not justify ‘for cause’, and has failed to pay contractually-agreed wages, bonuses, and severance. 

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.