Bored Ape company Yuga Labs names Activision Blizzard’s Daniel Alegre as CEO

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Yuga Labs, creator of Bored Ape Yacht Club, has named Activision Blizzard president Daniel Alegre as its new CEO.

The new hire will take effect in the first half of 2023 (perhaps the timing is vague since Activision Blizzard is in the midst of being acquired by Microsoft for $68.7 billion). Alegre will succeed Nicole Muniz, who will continue as a partner and strategic advisor to the company.

Alegre’s job will be to help the Miami company accelerate its ambitious vision for blockchain gaming, metaverse development and community building. Alegre announced he is leaving his job on Friday in an 8K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It’s a big endorsement of blockchain gaming and Web3 technology, as Alegre leaves a role as president and COO of the largest independent (for now) company in the gaming industry to join a startup that’s less than two years old. The young company put itself on the map when it launched Bored Ape Yacht Club in April 2021, at the height of the non-fungible tokens (NFT) craze. Yuga Labs hopes to parlay its notoriety and capital into a starring role in the metaverse’s new venture.

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Daniel Alegre was named the No. 2 boss at Activision Blizzard in 2020.

Yuga Labs managed to sell $1 billion worth of NFTs to virtual land prospectors, known as Voyagers, who have purchased tokenized plots of land in the Otherside virtual world. It also raised $450 million in March at a $4 billion valuation.

Alegre will work closely with Yuga Labs founders Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano to continue growing the business.

In just two years, Yuga Labs has convinced Web3 fans that it can be both a mainstream success and a creative force leading the charge in NFT technology. Yuga made its ambitious metaverse plans clear earlier this year when it announced Otherside, a gamified metaverse inspired by massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).

After proving that it can raise a lot of money from backers, the company now needs to live up to its promise.

Bored Ape Yacht Club has had a crazy ride in NFT games.

Alegre has more than 25 years of experience. He has been president and CEO of Activision Blizzard, the No. 2 position behind longtime CEO Bobby Kotick. In that role, he oversaw the international delivery and commercialization of franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch and Candy Crush Saga. He took on that role in early 2020.

Prior to that, he spent over 16 years at Google where he was the company’s president of global and strategic partnerships, president of shopping and payments, and president of Asia Pacific and
Latin America.

“Nicole, Greg and I have been looking for someone with Daniel’s skills for some time,” Aronow said in a statement. “The business, our ambitions and the complexity of our work have grown beyond our wildest expectations. We are thrilled to have him on the team to help with our vision of a truly interoperable metaverse.”

He added, “Daniel has held one of the most senior roles in one of the largest gaming companies in the world. He brings valuable experience across entertainment, e-commerce and global strategic partnerships – all of which are critical aspects of an immersive Web3 world built by creators and for creators.”

Alegre said in a statement that Yuga Labs has quickly made a name for itself through storytelling and community building.

“The company’s pipeline of products, partnerships and intellectual property represents a tremendous opportunity to define the metaverse in a way that empowers creators and gives users true ownership of their identity and digital assets,” he said. “I look forward to working with the passionate,
creative team at Yuga to innovate, inspire and shape the future of the internet together.”

Muniz joined the company as a consultant in the early days. She became a partner and took on the role of the first CEO, Solano said in a statement.

“Nicole has been a trusted leader who helped set up the company with the infrastructure we needed to scale quickly,” Solano said. “She won’t be going far, as she will remain a Yuga Labs partner and strategic advisor helping with the transition and beyond.”

Through a spokesperson, Alegre declined an interview request from GamesBeat.

“When I was first asked to advise Yuga Labs, I could tell right away that they had a fresh and exciting
approach to building communities,” Muniz said in a statement. “I’ve always had a passion for helping early-stage companies succeed, and the growth we’ve achieved at Yuga over the past year has been incredible. I look forward to continue to help from the sidelines as a partner and advisor. I’m thrilled we found Daniel to keep the momentum going and bring his gaming expertise to hugely ambitious projects like Otherside.”

It will be interesting to see if Alegre can bring his big corporate credentials to NFTs, which Western players seem to hate. (The comedy show Mythic Quest hilariously spearheaded the NFT craze in its third season). But many in the industry believe it could disrupt the status quo, bring real digital assets to gamers and herald decentralization in the gaming industry.

A large Bored Ape hosted 4500 Voyagers in the Otherside.
A large Bored Ape hosted 4500 Voyagers in the Otherside.

In a statement, Solano and Aronow said: “We have a clear vision of how Yuga can continue to lead in web3, and we are unwavering in our belief about how NFTs will revitalize the gaming, entertainment and lifestyle industries, while as we open up a space of possibility we cannot yet imagine (although we are beginning to do so).”

They added: “When it comes to the metaverse, we’re competing with giants. To catapult Otherside and our other ambitious projects to new heights, we’ve known for a long time that we wanted to bring in someone with a proven track record of building at the highest possible level . Knowing this, Nicole, Wylie and I have been searching for the right candidate. Our search led us to Daniel Alegre who will become Yuga Labs’ new CEO in the first half of the year.”

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