Pictured: John Needham Credit: Riot Games
Mentioned in this article
- Riot Games has promoted John Needham, previously the company’s managing director of Europe and North America, to global head of League of Legends esports.
- Needham joined Riot Games in 2017 and was previously a partner/GM and studio head at Microsoft, as well as CEO for two game developers.
- The previous esports heads, Jarred Kennedy and Whalen Rozelle, are taking on new leadership positions at Riot Games.
Riot Games has appointed John Needham as the new global head of League of Legends (LoL) esports, while the previous co-heads—Jarred Kennedy and Whalen Rozelle—will remain with the company in new leadership roles.
Needham has been with Riot Games since 2017, most recently as its managing director of Europe and North America overseeing both the LoL European Championship (LEC) and LoL Championship Series (LCS). He has previously served as a partner and general manager of Microsoft’s U.S. game studios, as well as head of its Lionhead studio, and was also the CEO of game developers Gazillion Entertainment and Cryptic Studios.
As global head of LoL esports, Needham will oversee Riot Games’ international efforts and work to accelerate the spread of regional leagues, according to the company. He will also lead development on the LoL World Championship, Mid-Season Invitational, and All-Star Event.
Pictured: Whalen Rozelle (left), Jarred Kennedy (right). Credit: Riot Games
The previous esports co-heads will focus on other initiatives for the company. Kennedy will head a new division centered on building and operating new businesses for the company, and also oversee Riot Games’ strategic partnerships. Rozelle, meanwhile, will lead the company’s charge for new esports efforts.
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“Riot’s aspirations are growing, and we are moving three of our proven leaders to accomplish even bigger things, on games and beyond games,” said Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent, in a release. “John’s global experience, track record with our regional esports leagues, and true passion for gaming will accelerate the evolution of League of Legends into one of the leading sports and entertainment properties in the world.”
“LoL is an esports phenomenon, thanks in large part to the leadership, drive, and vision of Jarred and Whalen, and we’re now confident that we are well on our way to becoming a multi-decade, multi-generational sport,” he continued. “We plan to provide our players, teams, partners, and fans with even more high-impact, amazing League of Legends experiences.”