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Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors hopes to stick around until at least 2041

Fresh from cutting 1,400 jobs and shuttering numerous Embracer studios, Wingefors reassures investors he's here for the long haul.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

April 22, 2024

3 Min Read
A headshot of Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors on a stylised purple background
Headshot via Embracer

Embracer Group boss Lars Wingefors has told investors he still wants to make good on a promise he issued in 2016 and stay with the conglomerate for at least 25 years.

Wingefors made that pledge in 2016, when Embracer pushed ahead with its IPO, and noted he still has "17 years left to fulfil that [promise]."

Assuming he achieves that goal, it means he'll be sticking around until 2041 at the very least. The long-serving boss reminded investors of his unwavering commitment in an open letter published earlier today in tandem with Embracer's announcement that it would be splitting into three standalone companies to search for "winning" business formulas.

"My journey started more than 30 years ago trading comic books to collectors and I have always dreamt to build something meaningful and significant. For me, building a business is not about reaching a certain size or position, it is about the journey to turn many small and sometimes a few large steps into something greater," he wrote.

"Today is clearly a day when we take a bigger step. I am so excited to imagine what the coming decades will bring. At the IPO in 2016 I made a promise to stakeholders that I would be around for at least 25 years–and I still have 17 years left to fulfill that."

Embracer boss reaffirms pledge after year of upheaval

Embracer's decision to reconfigure its business has been made after an incredibly tumultuous year for the company.

Under Wingefors, the Swedish conglomerate spent billions of dollars on a spate of mergers and acquisitions, snapping up major players like Gearbox Entertainment, Eidos Montreal, Coffee Stain, 4A Games, Koch Media, Crystal Dynamics, and so many others.

Those deals in turn made it the owner of massive franchises like Borderlands, Tomb Raider, Dead Island, Metro, Deus Ex. It also went after other IPs directly, nabbing the rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit literary works in a deal worth $788 million.

Yet, after throwing colossal buckets of moolah at those deals, Embracer began a widespread restructuring program in a bid to become a "more focused, self-sufficient company." It resulted in over 1,400 layoffs in six months. Following those cuts, Wingefors reassured investors the company would always focus on "maximizing shareholder value."

Those job losses were the result of Embracer choosing to shutter entire studios and cancel numerous projects. In a bid to wipe out debt, the company also divested key assets Gearbox Entertainment and Saber Interactive, which it purchased in 2021 and 2020 respectively for hefty sums.

"I am convinced that the best is still ahead of us," said Wingefors in the wake of today's announcement. "History has shown that diversified groups like ours can significantly enhance their chances of success by adopting a more agile, fast-moving approach and focusing on well-defined core market segments."

Whatever the future holds for Embracer, it appears that Wingefors fully intends to witness it.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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