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Nigel Robbins appointed new Kuju CEO

Former MTV Networks Asia-Pacific president looks at growth potential for development group

Nigel Robbins has been appointed to the role of Kuju Entertainment CEO, as original company founders Ian Baverstock and Jonathan Newth move into non-executive directorships.

Robbins, who has spent the past 15 years at MTV Networks, most recently as president of the Asia-Pacific segment of the business, takes over today with the remit of strengthening the overall business, with the four existing studios - as well as the potential for further growth.

"My intent was to immerse myself in the videogames industry," Robbins told GamesIndustry.biz in an exclusive interview published today. "I didn't think I'd have such a clear-cut opportunity when I started looking around.

"I spoke to Catalis and Kuju at the end of last year and I was heartened by the fact that they were looking for someone who could bring a fresh perspective from outside of the games industry. That's the first hurdle - and I very much understand why they're doing that, but at the time I felt it could be seen as a risk.

"But now, with my understanding of the Kuju group, and the strong foundations that Ian and Jonathan have established, I think it's absolutely the right thing to do - because I'm not here to help any of our guys create code, I'm here to stretch us... ask a lot of smart (and dumb) questions and find ways for us to continue to reinvent, scale-up where we can and make sure there's that continuity on the work-for-hire side of the business so we can super-serve our glorious clients."

He added that while there were no specific growth plans on the table at the moment, parent company Catalis had given him room to pursue opportunities as they arose.

"We're a good size right now to build on, and scale up where we can with the studios and make sure we sharpen our act in every corner," he said. "There is an appetite for growth - of course, there is in any business - and our parent company Catalis has given me a lot of leverage in terms of recommending (and receiving recommendations for) areas to explore.

"So there may be the potential to grow organically, and through acquisitions in the future, if it's the right kind of partnership. I wouldn't see us needing to go beyond half a dozen studios, for example - you can become too stretched and reduce your focus."

Meanwhile he added that, following some restructuring last year, he had no plans to realign the current studio line-up.

"No, it's always the last thing you want to do, for any new CEO - you never want to lose good people," he explained. "One thing that's interesting for this industry perhaps, compared to the TV content digital media businesses I've worked with is the ebb-and-flow that's not always part of the environment - but an acceptance that you do need to scale back sometimes in the year. It's project-driven.

"But we want to make sure that the teams are stable and retained, and have continuity. I want to make sure that we're looking at every potential opportunity in the market so that we can secure business and create games, continue to build our teams and retain them long term."

The full exclusive interview with Robbins is available on GamesIndustry.biz now.

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