Mark Wells steps down as Games Workshop CEO

Well this one is interesting… from their announcement dated 18th January to investors:

Games Workshop announces that after five years of outstanding service Mark Wells is stepping down as CEO.  He leaves on good terms and with our very best wishes.

The board will be seeking to appoint a new CEO in due course.  In the meantime, our Chairman, Tom Kirby, will be Acting CEO and Chairman.

Faeit 212 appears to have an unsourced internal communication expanding on this a little, which in a nutshell is (and we’re paraphrasing here) – the Chairman’s job (Tom Kirby’s) and the CEO’s job (Mark Wells) were identical, so someone had to go for the good of the company (Mark).  Originally brought on as the director of strategy in 2000, that makes it an (almost) 13 year run with GW.

  • Demonetrigan

    Humm, well that explains a lot if GW really believe the roles of CEO and Chairman are identical !!

  • ANY business that doesn’t understand the difference between Chairman and CEO is taking a big risk in nder performing. Usually this means the hair man is meddling in operational issues instead of governance issues…

  • wildger

    Chairman and CEO’s role are identical. That is a silly excuse and I am really surprised that someone believe it. Hopefully, GW will make a change away from the direction of what they have been doing in the last few years.

  • KelRiever

    They suck at communications. What they could mean is that the jobs of Chairman and CEO could be performed by the same person, and that happens in plenty of companies.

    What really matters is there’s no change in the direction of GW. In other words, keep halving the customer base, but doubling the price, until they can get two people to purchase a never ending increase of inventory. Brilliant! /sarcasm

  • phoenixman

    and of course canning a job saves a LOT of money at CEO level, so maybe they are finally feeling the pinch after years of huge price hikes when their turnover has been in the region of 150million for ages.

    they won’t go under, but if there was no GW then i for one would not mourn their passing.

    there are plenty of companies out there charging a reasonable price for a good product and where you get plenty of figures per box, which is def not the case with most GW boxes in my opinion.

    they need to start putting more stuff in their boxes or more and more gamers will simply move on from them and when they have kids they will not introduce them to GW eitehr but to other more ‘value for money’ companies.


    Speculation based on the seemingly self detructive path GW has been on was running toward Tom Kirby, the largest private stockholder, pushing the company as he prepares to cash out his holdings.

    This move seems to add a lot of fuel to that fire. GW seems to be engaged in an unstutainable “cashing out” on their customer base and table top products.

    Based on the 6 month returns of sells volume increase of 5 million to 67m and keeping in mind that they released a new edition of their flag ship rules , had nearly 20% price increases on average across the board they have had a HUGE drop off in unit sells. This is the number serious investors want but UK companies do not have to show.

    Pretty basic math will show that unit sells are down by well over 15%. If world wide reports of dramatic sells drop offs among independent retailers hold true then 2013 will be the year the chickens come home to roost for GW . Already the last to releases CSM and now DA have had the slowest up take by any major product relative to gross since 2nd Ed. Following on the heels of desasterous sells numbers for Dark Vengence GW cannot long keep the wool over the eyes of their largely industry outsider investors.

    Expect a new CEO Chairman to be announced followed by Kirby’s retirement and divestment of his artificially inflated GW stock.

    We can only hope GW goes to a responsible buyer when the time comes. Fantasy Flight would be a good choice to break the trend of this notoriously xenophobic company.

  • phoenixman

    losing GW would be no great loss, and the rest of the gaming community could reap the benefits in increased sales and would ensure the survival of many, plus someone might finally take up and restart Warhammer Historical.

    for too long they have overcharged for products in my opinion, and the only sad thing would be the people out of work.

    maybe someone will buy out the company and put the customer first for a change, and then maybe their ‘old’ customers will come back to them, but what we want is value for money and not new rulebooks for the sake of them and to make the players have to buy more, or different units / models just to play the game.

  • geekygamer

    As a person who got into their peripheral games at times (Epic SM, early BB, Necromunda, Mordheim) I’ve had some fun with their products without spending the hundreds (or thousands) on a single force for WH or 40K, so I don’t hold the same level of resentment as others.

    GW has popularized minis gaming in the US in ways that are good for gaming generally as I believe their strong marketing along with book and video game ventures have allowed their products to be a “gateway drug” into other gaming companies. They brought plastics into TT gaming in a way like no others before and have this emulated by several firms now.

    They have some great properties in the WH and 40K that are very rich and developed (although most of it is rehashed rehash dating to the late 80s and early 90s). I look forward to a time when these properties can be licenced in full by companies with more competent rules development teams and play-testing regimens.