Unity Software CEO John Riccitiello speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 in San Francisco on Sept. 5, 2018.
Steve Jennings | TechCrunch | Getty Images
Unity CEO John Riccitiello is retiring from the gaming software company following a controversial pricing change that frustrated numerous developers.
Riccitiello, who has been running Unity for nine years, will also step down as chairman and is leaving the board, the company said Monday.
James Whitehurst, former CEO of Red Hat, will become Unity’s interim CEO. Sequoia Capital’s Roelof Botha, the lead independent director of Unity’s Board, will become the company’s chairman.
Unity said it will begin searching for a permanent CEO and Riccitiello “will continue to advise Unity to ensure a smooth transition.”
In September, Unity announced a pricing change that upset numerous developers who rely on the company’s technology to create video games. A consortium of game developers protested the change, saying in a public letter that it “jeopardizes small and large game developers alike” and was “made without any industry consultation.”
Unity eventually modified its update to appeal to developers after acknowledging the discontent and apologizing “for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy” caused.
“We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy,” the company said at the time.
Unity went public in 2020 and was valued at $17 billion after its first day of trading. The company now has a market cap of just over $11 billion, after its stock dropped alongside a broader tech decline in 2022.
“It’s been a privilege to lead Unity for nearly a decade and serve our employees, customers, developers and partners, all of whom have been instrumental to the Company’s growth,” Riccitiello said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the Company’s future success.”
Unity shares fell 1.5% to $29.70 at the market close Monday.
Watch: Unity Software’s John Riccitello retiring as president and CEO.