Don’t look now, but a foreign guy will become the boss at one of Asia’s biggest game companies. Free-to-play online gaming giant Nexon has announced Owen Mahoney’s appointment as the successor for the top executive post at Nexon.
The move shows how important knowledge of Western markets has become to Nexon, which has designs on becoming a global gaming company with major hits in all regional markets.
Mahoney, who was previously chief financial officer and chief administrative officer, will take the role of president and chief executive officer-elect. On March 25, he will succeed Seungwoo Choi, who has decided to retire and will assume the advisory role of honorary chairman. The changing of the guard will occur after the general shareholders meeting on March 25.
Nexon also reported that its fourth-quarter revenues grew 12 percent from a year ago, and full-year revenues were up 43 percent.
Under Choi’s leadership, Nexon grew from a small, privately-held company into a publicly traded, multinational industry leader with $1.5 billion in annual revenues in 2013.
“I am proud of the company we have built and honored to have led such a talented team of over 4,500 employees around the world,” Choi said. “Together, we have expanded our portfolio of titles to offer nearly 60 online games in more than 100 countries and have strong momentum for continued success.”
He added, “Owen is a talented leader with an established track record and — importantly — a deep understanding of the Nexon team and culture. I look forward to continuing to work with the management team and Board of Directors to capture the market opportunity ahead.”
Mahoney has 15 years of global experience in the game business. He has been in the CFO and CAO post since 2010 and has been responsible for managing the company’s finances, global operations, investments, and strategic alliances.
Under his leadership, Nexon has increased its annual revenues by 123 percent, successfully completed its $1.2 billion initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and formed new strategic partnerships with high-profile developers and publishers around the world, including four in the fast-growing Western market. Mahoney has cut deals with Western developers to publish their games. Among the developers are John Schappert, former No. 2 executive at Zynga, and Brian Reynolds, former chief game designer at Zynga.
Mahoney was senior vice president of corporate development at Electronic Arts from 2000 to 2009, where he was responsible for worldwide mergers, acquisitions, and business development.
“I am delighted and honored to have the opportunity to lead this outstanding company,” said Mahoney. “As the pioneer of the free-to-play model, Nexon is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the continuing worldwide platform transition towards synchronous online game play and free-to-play monetization. We will continue to build on our success by focusing even more sharply on a smaller number of high-quality titles and development efforts; attracting and supporting leading industry talent; and leveraging our accumulated expertise and track record of successful partnerships with leading talent around the world looking to transition to free-to-play. I look forward to our bright future ahead.”
Shiro Uemura, general manager of the accounting and finance department at Nexon, will replace Mahoney as CFO. Koji Abe, general counsel, will assume the additional role of chief administrative officer.