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Jobs Roundup: May 2024 | ESA Foundation names Sue Madden as executive director

Update: Colm Larkin appointed CEO of IMIRT

It can be difficult keeping track of the various comings and goings in the games industry, which is why we compile them in semi-regular round-ups.

If you have new appointments or transitions in your company that belong here, please send the names of the appointees, new role and company, and prior role and company to

Sue Madden | Executive director, Entertainment Software Association Foundation

Sue Madden has been appointed executive director of the ESA Foundation.

Madden previously served as the ESA Foundation's interim executive director.

Prior to the ESA, Madden was director of the Garnett Foundation for the USA Today Network and a community investment advisor for BAE Systems. She also led her own philanthropic consulting firm, The Madden Group.

In the announcement of her appointment, she said: "Through my work with the ESA Foundation over the past year, I've witnessed how the industry works together to support the next generation of creators and innovators. It is a privilege to lead the Foundation's efforts to unlock opportunities for emerging talent who someday will serve as industry leaders."

Colm Larkin

Colm Larkin | CEO, Irish Game Makers Association

The IMIRT has named Colm Larkin as its first CEO, and will start his new role in June.

Larkin was previously a member of the IMIRT board, having stepped down in 2019.

He founded and is director of Dublin-based studio Gambrinous. Larkin previously worked as a lead developer at Kudyou and a senior UI engineer at Swrve.

"Over the last decade, alongside running my own studio, I've dedicated myself to championing the Irish games community both within Ireland and abroad," he said. "I look forward to taking that to the next level with IMIRT."

Adrien Cho

Adrien Cho | Senior External Development Manager, Xbox

Adrien Cho has returned to Xbox as senior external development manager.

In the role, Cho will focus on supporting the game's firm with their external development needs.

Cho previously worked for Xbox Game Studio's 343 Industries for 12 years, joining the team as art production manager before becoming art vendor and OS manager in 2013.

He departed in 2022 to head of production at Snapchat in addition to Augment Reality Enterprise Services.

"I'm thrilled to be back in a space that I love. I love the talented and creative people who make games and am excited to be able to continue this journey," said Cho. "I'm looking forward to reconnecting with familiar faces and making new connections."

Left to right; Mikko Kirmanen, Jonathan Massey, Pasi Brännlund

Fingersoft announces three leadership appointments

Game developer Fingersoft has announced a trio of appointments to its executive team.

Mikko Kirmanen has been named director of growth. He formerly served as head of growth marketing at the game studio and has been at the firm for seven years.

Jonathan Massey has been promoted to director of game products. Massey previously worked as a producer and joined the studio back in 2021.

Meanwhile, Pasi Brännlund now serves as director of technology. He joined the company back in 2016 and last worked as head of live operations. Brännlund has been working at Fingersoft for eight years.

Maria Burns Ortiz

Maria Burns Ortiz | Executive director, Global Game Jam

Maria Burns Ortiz is now executive director of Global Game Jam.

In the role, she will oversee opportunities to expand the organization's partnerships.

With her new appointment, she succeeds executive director Tim Cullings, who stepped down back in February.

Burns Ortiz brings with her experience that includes co-founding 7 Generation Games. She serves as its president and board leader.

She has been with the educational game maker since 2013.

"It is an honor to lead Global Game Jam, an organization that embodies that mission. I look forward to working with our talented team and connecting with our committed network of volunteers to support our passionate community of Jammers around the world and take GGJ to the next level," said Burns Ortiz.

Steve Escalante

Steve Escalante | Board member, Blind Squirrel Games

Blind Squirrel Games has appointed Steven Escalante to its board of directors.

He brings his career experience to the firm to support the company's strategic business operations

Escalante's professional experience includes working as the current CEO of Digital Bandidos.

He also had a 10-year stint as general manager and founder of QA firm Red Cerberus. Escalante also worked as general manager and founded Versus Evil.

Blind Squirrel Games CEO Brad Hendricks said, "With the appointment of Steve Escalante to our board of directors, the company gains invaluable expertise in navigating the complex realm of publishing, filling a vital gap in our strategy as we double-down on our focus on IP."

Left to right; Saad Alshmrani, Javi San Juan

Sandsoft announced duo appointments

Sandsoft has expanded its team with two new hirings.

Javi San Juan has been hired on as lead game designer for its Barcelona studio.

Prior to this, he worked as senior game designer at Tripledot Studios.

Meanwhile, Saad Alshmrani has joined as a marketing artist at Sandsoft's Riyadh office.

Before his new position, he worked as an animator at security and investigations firm SAFE.

Jan Kuhlmann

Jan Kuhlmann | Head of marketing, Astragon Entertainment

Astragon Entertainment has appointed Jan Kuhlmann as its head of marketing.

Kuhlmann brings with him experience that includes working at Xsolla for two years. Kuhlmann last served as its business development director in Germany.

He also worked for Ubisoft for eight years, joining the firm in 2013 as a trade marketing coordinator. Climbing the company ranks, Kuhlmann held the role of senior brand manager before departing.

"We are delighted to have gained Jan Kuhlmann, a marketing expert with a wealth of experience in the games industry," said Astragon Entertainment co-CEO Julia Pfiffer.

"We value his many years of expertise, which he has been able to demonstrate in his various positions."

Derek De Filippo

Derek De Filippo | Head of business development, Space Ape

Space Ape has named Derek De Filippo its new business development and publishing head.

He previously served as marketing lead of Chrome Valley Customs at the game studio.

De Filippo's professional history includes a four-year stint as an App Store business manager for games in the UK and Ireland. He also worked for Mediatonic Games for a year as its business development manager.

In a social media announcement of his appointment, De Filippo said, "I'm Excited to share that I'm starting a new position as Head of BD & Publishing at Space Ape Games! I'll be setting up a new department and working across all of our great games."

Limbic Entertainment unveils new appointments

Limbic Entertainment, a subsidiary of Namco Europe, has announced a series of new appointments.

Joining its senior team is Janine Bertet as principal concept artist. Martin Hamberger was hired as senior writer and level designer at the firm.

Limbic also added Frieder Mielke on as its new senior programmer.

Meanwhile, Matthias Kraut joined on as communications lead. Aswarth Sadhu, who steps into the role of senior animator, rounds out the senior appointments.

The firm also had a number of junior hirings. Alexandre Marti was appointed as junior gameplay programmer.

Ali Abdat was hired on as junior programmer, while Amr Hamed was named junior game programmer. Lastly, Timo Frischhut joined Limbic as a junior QA tester.

Laura Lilley | Chief operating officer, Room 8 Group

Room 8 Group has hired Laura Lilley as its new chief operating officer.

Throughout her professional career, she's held executive positions across multiple firms.

Before her hiring, she worked as interim chief operating officer at Naked Wines.

Lilley was also the global chief operating officer at Finecast for a year. She worked at KPMG UK for nine years, last serving as head of transformation.

"I'm delighted to join Room 8 Group and have the opportunity to be part of their exciting journey in shaping the modern games industry through co-development. I look forward to working with such a strong team," she said.

Johan Gästrin

Johan Gästrin | Chief technology officer, Resolution Games

Johan Gästrin has been appointed as chief technology officer at Resolution Games.

He originally joined the developer back in 2021 as head of technology.

Gästrin brings with him experience that includes a four-year stint at King. He last held the role of product manager technical platform.

"With the shifting landscape toward spatial computing and mixed reality being a more prominent thing than ever before, we are thrilled to have Johan Gästrin's breadth of technological prowess leading the company in these efforts," said Resolution Games CEO Tommy Palm.

Left to right; Will Kassoy, Gregg Sulak

Skybound Entertainment adds executive duo

Skybound Entertainment has made new appointments to its leadership team.

Gregg Sulak has been named chief financial officer of the entertainment firm. Sulak previously worked at Wondery in the same position.

His career includes a seven-year stint at Machinima, where he last served as VP of financial planning and analysis.

Meanwhile, Will Kassoy has joined as head of consumer strategy. He formerly served as president of Omaze.

Kassoy's professional history includes working at AdColony for six years as CEO.

"Gregg's expertise is pivotal as we actively increase M&A and IP development, while Will's background in cultivating long-term fan loyalty lies at the core of Skybound's DNA," said Skybound CEO David Alpert.

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Jeffrey Rousseau avatar
Jeffrey Rousseau: Jeffrey joined in March 2021. Based in Florida, his work focused on the intersectionality of games and media. He enjoys reading, podcasts, staying informed, and learning how people are tackling issues.
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