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Worms and Overcooked publisher Team 17 has found its new CEO

Steve Bell, co-founder of global integrated marketing agency Iris, will begin his tenure next year.

Chris Kerr

June 6, 2023

2 Min Read
Team 17 logo with colorful screenshots

UK publisher Team 17 has named Steve Bell as its new CEO after announcing that long-serving boss Debbie Bestwick intends to step down.

Bell will formally assume the role of group CEO on January 1, 2024. He joins Team 17 from global integrated marketing agency Iris, which he co-founded back in 1999.

During his tenure at the company, which specializes in brand and digital marketing strategy, Bell held a number of senior leadership roles–including global group chief executive–and managed over 1000 employees in 12 offices around the world. He was also heavily involved in developing and delivering Iris' commercial and M&A strategies.

"I am thrilled to be joining Team 17. The Company has an incredible track record and I'm excited to help build on the Group's strong foundations to continue its impressive growth trajectory," said Bell.

"I look forward to working closely with the Board, Mark (CFO), Michael, Julia, Tim and Emmet–the Group's divisional CEO's and their broader teams to bring even more compelling games and apps to players, alongside driving further momentum by supporting the Group's successful organic and acquisitive growth strategy."

Changing of the guard at Team 17

Earlier this year, Bestwick said they would be stepping down to spend more time with their family, but the outgoing CEO will remain at the Worms and Overcooked publisher in a non-executive role.

Bestwick, who will also retain their place on the Team 17 board, came under fire last year after reports of cultural issues at the studio were surfaced by Eurogamer.

It was alleged that Bestwick was aware of numerous issues plaguing the company, including low pay, long hours, and unmanageable hours, but that the CEO was a "formidable" figure who struggled to handle and process criticism.

Looking towards the future, Bestwick said she looks forward to working with Bell through the handover process and pledged to continue offering her support as non-executive director.

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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