- Senior executive hires were made at three operating companies: the ecosystem company, the game studio company, and the infrastructure company.
- The new hires bring over 40 years of combined industry and business development experience to propel SGG in its mission to grow the industry globally.
- SGG is made up of five operating companies, each with a separately defined mandate and set of core objectives.
Savvy Gaming Group (SGG) today announced the appointments of Kadri Harma, Yannick Theler and Jerry Gamez as CEOs of the gaming and esports company’s operating company.
Bringing extensive industry experience to the new Savvy Gaming group, the CEOs will lead Savvy’s ecosystem company, game studios and infrastructure company.
Kadri Harma, CEO of Savvy’s ecosystem business, is an entrepreneur and investor with over 20 years of experience building startup ecosystems, half of which has been dedicated to specializing in the games industry. Building on its track record of founding, launching and fundraising for four funds in Europe, Asia and the US, Harma will lead the Savvy ecosystem company, providing infrastructure, skills, network, capital and advice to promising game start-ups.
“Looking not only at the size of the market, but also at the young, creative and ambitious population, there is huge untapped potential in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in the gaming industry.
This is a unique opportunity to connect global partners to the ecosystem and help this talent flourish both domestically and in the international marketplace.”
Yannick Theler, CEO of Savvy’s game studio company, joined Ubisoft where he worked for 19 years across Europe, China and the Middle East covering all facets of the business, including establishing Ubisoft’s studio in Abu Dhabi ten years ago, a studio which today houses CSI Hidden Crimes, NCIS Hidden Crimes, Growtopia and Clash of Beasts. At SGG, Theler will lead the game studios of Savvy, a company whose mission is to create the most exciting game franchises in the world.
“I am delighted to be part of this newly created group dedicated to learning, talent and rapid growth. I am toiletI look forward to bringing my leadership and vision to Savvy Games Studios to create a global powerhouse of developers and studios that will bring distinct and memorable experiences to the industry now and in the future.”
Jerry Gamez, CEO of Savvy’s infrastructure company, brings over 20 years of experience in senior management, entrepreneurship and direct investment. He has worked with global B2B and B2C brands such as Walmart, Restaurant Brands International, as well as various food/consumer technology companies. Joining SGG with a wealth of experience in international development and expansion, Gamez will lead the development and investments in a large global footprint of innovative gaming sites.
“I am thrilled to join a group that is poised to have a huge impact on both the region and the global industry. When it comes to our infrastructure efforts, I’m proud to lead a company that is focused on a holistic user experience that will redefine the way people come together and experience gaming.”
SGG is 100% owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, PIF, and is made up of five operating companies, each with a defined business and strategy. The other two operating companies are the ESL FACEIT Group, led by Craig Levine and Niccolo Maisto as co-CEOs, and the Savvy Games Fund.
Each operating company has a separately defined mandate and a set of core objectives that will be developed as CEOs continue to hire their teams and grow their corporate brands.
Group CEO Brian Ward said:
“At Savvy Gaming Group, we are committed to driving the industry’s growth globally, driving significant investments, enabling more game developers and technology innovators, and facilitating broader and more fair to this dynamic, fast-growing sector.
To accomplish this mission, we must bring the best minds to join us, and I am delighted to welcome such accomplished executives to our leadership team. With their rich experience and complementary companies, we will drive the long-term growth and development of esports and the wider gaming industry worldwide.
On his hiring ambitions, Ward added:
“At Savvy, we stand for inclusivity and hire the best people. In our industry, although 46% of gamers are women, only 16% of executives at the biggest game companies are women. We are already ahead of this figure with 20% of our C-suite, but our goal is much higher: 50%.