Second Life

Mark Kingdon Leaves Linden Lab: Philip Steps in (Updated)

Mark Kingdon has departed Linden Lab and Philip Rosedale has returned to take on the role of interim CEO, according to an official release by the company.

Linden Lab®, creator of 3D virtual world Second Life®, announced today that company founder Philip Rosedale has been named interim CEO, and CFO Bob Komin has assumed the additional role of COO. Linden Lab also announced that Mark Kingdon is stepping down as CEO.

“On behalf of the board, I thank Mark for all of his contributions during his tenure with Linden Lab which include growing our user base and revenue, increasing the stability of the platform, and nurturing and helping build a world class team,” said Rosedale, who will continue to serve on Linden Lab’s board of directors.

Kingdon, who joined Linden Lab following a previous post at interactive agency Organic, was charged with ending Second Life’s “frontier days” and bringing the platform to the masses. Under his watch, significant hiring and product development saw its most visible results in a new Web site, buy-out of XStreet and OnRez, orientation experience, and “viewer”, while behind the scenes work was done on stability and a host of other issues.

Still in the pipeline are projects such as mesh imports, a new Second Life Marketplace, integration with Avatars United and other projects.

But Mark’s work wasn’t enough to see the anticipated increase in new users. Predicting that the Lab would break 100,000 concurrency, Linden Lab has instead seen a new viewer that was met with resistance by the current user community while efforts to attract new users seemed to fall flat.

In announcing the retraction of the hiring of 100s of people under Mark’s watch through lay-offs, he positioned the changes as a way to focus on things that matter to both Residents and to the larger goal of bringing Second Life to a larger user base. This plan was implicitly endorsed by Philip Rosedale during a recent speech to Second Life Residents.

Philip addressed the change on the Second Life Web site with a message to Residents:

Mark Kingdon is going to step down as CEO, and I am going to return as interim CEO, working side-by-side with former CFO Bob Komin, who is being promoted to COO.

This is a big, tough change but one the board of directors and management team deeply believes in. We owe Mark great thanks for the many things we’ve accomplished in these last two years — most notably a great improvement in the stability of Second Life, and also the hiring and nurturing of a strong team of new leaders who are now ready to do some amazing work together.

Philip emphasized a product and technology focus as keys to the success going forward.


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