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Riot Games on Thursday revealed the promotion of gaming executive John Needham to president of its esports division.
Needham, who served for the last two years as global head of esports and held a managing director position prior to that, will report to CEO Nicolo Laurent. He will be responsible for overseeing League of Legends esports as well as the Valorant champions tour and other game titles.
“As we head into 2022, we’re placing our biggest bets yet on esports to deliver the most connected, immersive experiences for the millions of players worldwide who love our games,” said Laurent in a statement. “John Needham’s leadership and vision for our esports business has helped us grow our fandom exponentially over the past few years. It’s why I’m excited to formalize a major division at Riot Games, with John reporting directly into me, to support and drive our big, bold swings that make it even better to be a player.”
Needham joined Riot Games in 2017 as managing director of Europe and North America, and in that role led the rebranding of the League of Legends European championship and its long-term partnership model.
“Riot Games has led the explosive growth of esports over the past decade, and I’m proud to be part of the team charged with establishing our portfolio as a foundation for the future of sports,” said Needham. “Esports embodies Riot’s mission to inspire the most meaningful and lasting player experiences. By further professionalizing our sports, innovating and focusing on sustainability and competitive integrity, and making esports at Riot Games inclusive to all, we will thrive together with new and existing fans. We also will create additional value for our partners and plan to set the highest player-driven standards for competitive gaming well into the next decade.”
Riot Games was founded in 2006 and released its debut title, League of Legends, in 2009 to a massive worldwide reception that led to it being one of the most played PC games in the world.
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