Frontier Developments plc (AIM: FDEV, “Frontier” or the “Company”), a leading developer and publisher of videogames based in Cambridge, UK, announces a number of changes to its Board of Directors to take Frontier into its next exciting chapter of growth.
• CEO transition – David Braben moves to a new role on the Board of President and Founder, as Jonny Watts is promoted to CEO after 10 years as Chief Creative Officer
• Chairman transition – David Wilton to join the Board as a Non-Executive Director and Chairman designate and will become Chairman in December when David Gammon retires from the Board after serving a full term
• The Board is further strengthened by the promotion of James Dixon to Chief Operating Officer and Jessica Bourne to General Counsel & Company Secretary
• David Wilton will join the Board on 22 September 2022 following the announcement of Frontier’s FY22 financial results on 21 September 2022. All other role changes are effective 10 August 2022
Here's a link to the headshots for the board: https://we.tl/t-Ou8mBvzemo
Chief Executive Officer
Frontier has announced David Braben’s transition to his new role of President and Founder, with Jonny Watts, currently Chief Creative Officer, being appointed as CEO, effective from today, to lead the next phase of the Company’s evolution.
After 28 years leading Frontier’s rise to become one of the world’s leading independent games companies, David Braben commented: “Frontier is very important to me, and I am delighted to be able to pass on my CEO responsibilities to the exceptionally talented Jonny Watts, who I know will do a terrific job. He has the perfect combination of creative leadership and gaming vision to build on the excellent momentum in the business. I am looking forward to my new role at Frontier, and this change enables me to focus on our longer-term strategic opportunities.”
David Braben will transition into the newly created role of President and Founder, an Executive Director position, where he will retain his leadership and vision for Frontier’s strategic direction, whilst maintaining and building key relationships within the games industry and the wider digital entertainment sector.
As CEO, Jonny Watts will build on an exceptional track record at Frontier having worked closely with David Braben for over 24 years, and as Chief Creative Officer since 2012. The partnership has delivered outstanding success for the Company, including the substantial value created over the last decade from Frontier’s transition to self-publishing, development of a portfolio of high-quality games played by millions around the world, and record revenue (unaudited) of £114m in FY22. Jonny has been key to the Company’s major game successes over recent years, and he has also been instrumental in establishing and delivering Frontier’s successful Develop, Launch and Nurture strategy, which delivers long-term value to both Frontier’s players and investors. In his new role as CEO, Jonny will be responsible for all aspects of day-to-day leadership and delivery against Frontier’s operational and longer term strategic plans.
Commenting on his appointment, Jonny Watts said: “I am excited to step up and lead Frontier into the next chapter of our growth. We have an amazing team and an exceptional culture of high-quality creativity and inclusivity. I’m looking forward to working with David and the wider Board to take us to still greater success. We look forward with great confidence”.
Frontier has also announced that David Gammon will retire as Chairman in December 2022 after serving his full term on the board. David Gammon will be succeeded by David Wilton who will join the Board as an Independent Non-Executive Director and Chairman Designate on 22 September 2022, becoming Chairman when David Gammon retires in December 2022.
David Wilton brings a wealth of experience of high growth businesses across multiple sectors, including games. Most recently, he has been CFO of Sumo Group plc from where he will be retiring on 31 October 2022. He is an experienced Non-Executive Director, consultant and qualified chartered accountant with many years in corporate finance, primarily in mid cap M&A with Rothschild & Co. He is currently a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of CVS Group plc, the AIM quoted veterinary services group.
David Gammon said: “I am very pleased that David Wilton is succeeding me. Chairing the Board of Frontier over the last 10 years has been a tremendous privilege. Frontier is an exceptional business with a portfolio of games which entertain millions around the world. It has been a great pleasure to oversee its growth and transformation including our listing on the stock exchange and scale-up to a world class gaming business of 800 people. With Jonny becoming CEO and David Braben still closely involved, David Wilton will have an outstanding team to work with. I am immensely grateful to my fellow board members for their support and hard work during my tenure as Chairman. I wish Frontier the very best for the future.”
David Wilton said: “I am thrilled to be joining Frontier’s Board. I have known David Braben for many years and have watched the business with great interest. Jonny Watts is an exceptional leader and I am looking forward to working with him. Frontier is an amazing company making great games and has been a tremendous success story. I look forward to playing a part in Frontier’s future success as we take advantage of the manyopportunities ahead”.
Chief Operating Officer
Also effective from today, James Dixon, Frontier’s current Senior Director of Operations, has joined the Board as Chief Operating Officer. James has worked with David Braben and Jonny Watts for over 24 years and has been integral to Frontier’s success over that time, particularly during the significant scale-up phases of the last decade. James will provide support to Jonny Watts in his new CEO role, and to the whole Board, as Frontier continues to grow and evolve.
Jessica Bourne, Frontier’s current Head of Legal, has been promoted into the role of General Counsel and Company Secretary, effective from today. Jessica joined Frontier in October 2020 and has provided excellent support throughout that time. She is a qualified Solicitor having broad experience of in-house practice in a number of organisations including PA Consulting Group. Jessica has previous experience of the games industry from her time at Ninja Theory Limited and their acquisition by Microsoft in 2018.
Jessica will take over company secretarial responsibilities from Alex Bevis, Chief Financial Officer, which will allow Alex to focus more time on strategic planning and stakeholder management. It will also provide an improved segregation of duties, and will deliver clear leadership across the distinct areas of finance (Alex) and legal (Jessica). Alex will continue to be responsible for all aspects of HR in addition to his finance and investor relations responsibilities.
The following additional information is provided in accordance with Rule 17 and paragraph (g) of Schedule Two of the AIM Rules for Companies.
David Charles Wilton
David Charles Wilton, aged 59, holds 7,000 ordinary shares of 0.5p each in Frontier (“Ordinary Shares”). His current and previous directorships or partnerships are detailed below:
Current directorships and partnerships:
CVS Group plc
Auroch Digital Limited
Timbre Games Studio Inc
Pacman Finco Limited
Auroch Digital Coco Limited
Aghoco 1952 Limited
Secret Mode Limited
Sumo Video Games Private Limited
Red Kite Games Limited
Red Kite Software Development Limited
Riverside Games Limited
Sumo Digital (Chilli) Limited
Sumo Digital (Locus) Limited
The Chinese Room Limited
Sumo Group Limited
Atomhawk Canada Limited
Project Republica Topco Limited
Project Republica Bidco Limited
Sumo Digital Holdings Limited
Sumo Digital Group Limited
Sumo Digital Entertainment Limited
Sumo Digital Limited
Sumo Games Development Limited
Mistral Entertainment Limited
Sumo Digital (Genus) Limited
AGHOCO 1337 Limited
Cirrus Development Limited
Atomhawk Design Limited
Past directorships and partnerships held within the last 5 years:
Pacman Reverse Acquisitions Sub, Inc
Pacman Acquisition Sub, Inc
Sumo Digital (Atlantis) Limited
James Alexander Dixon
James Alexander Dixon, aged 49, holds 46,859 Ordinary Shares and options over 20,267 Ordinary Shares under the following Frontier Developments plc share schemes:
Mr Dixon’s wife, Katharin Dixon, a person closely associated (“PCA”), also holds 4,321 Ordinary Shares in the Company.
Mr. Dixon does not have any current or past directorships or partnerships to disclose.
Save as disclosed above, there are no further disclosures to be made in accordance with Rule 17 or Schedule 2(g) of the AIM Rules for Companies.
The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014 as amended by The Market Abuse (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The person responsible for making this announcement on behalf of the Company is Alex Bevis.
Jonny Watts, CEO
David Braben, President and Founder
Alex Bevis, CFO
Liberum - Nomad and Joint Broker
Neil Patel / Cameron Duncan
Jefferies - Joint Broker
Max Jones / William Brown
Matt Low / Alex Dart
About Frontier Developments plc
Frontier is a leading independent developer and publisher of videogames founded in 1994 by David Braben, co-author of the iconic Elite game. Based in Cambridge, Frontier uses its proprietary COBRA game development technology to create innovative genre-leading games, primarily for personal computers and videogame consoles. As well as self-publishing internally developed games, Frontier also publishes games developed by carefully selected partner studios under its Frontier Foundry games label.
Frontier's LEI number: 213800B9LGPWUAZ9GX18.