The new CEO of Second Life developer Linden Labs is former EA Play executive VP Rod Humble, the company announced today. Humble's left Electronic Arts to take over for CEO Mark Kingdon, who stepped down earlier this summer.
Kingdon had been CEO for about two years, himself stepping in for founder Philip Rosedale, who'd served as CEO since the company's 1999 inception. Humble is a 20-year industry veteran most recently associated with the Sims franchise, although he develops experimental titles like The Marriage on his own.
Humble has also worked as VP of product development for Sony Online Entertainment's major and enduring EverQuest MMO, and Rosedale says Humble is the ideal person to take the reins at Linden.
"Second Life has become a consistently large and profitable business with a thriving virtual economy built together with its passionate Resident community," says Rosedale. "This has always been a big, long-term vision, it is still early and there is enormous opportunity for growth.
Kingdon's July resignation came following the early June announcement that the privately-held developer would be restructuring, resulting in the layoffs of 30 percent of the company's staff. But at the time Linden claimed that since Second Life's introduction, the game has logged over 1 billion user hours and generated over $1 billion in user-to-user transactions.
Today Linden says it has had revenues in excess of $75 million, and has seen a profit -- excluding restructuring and non-stock compensation expenses -- for each of the last three years. It now employs 220 people.
"With Rod's fresh insights and deep experience in creating and leading the development of fun, intuitive, immersive entertainment experiences that have attracted massive audiences of loyal users, he's the right leader to understand what makes us special and bring the next level of growth to Second Life," adds Rosedale.
Humble expressed enthusiasm for his new opportunity, and explained his decision to take the role at Linden: "I have a long-standing interest in the how the boundaries of society and economics change as communications evolve in new ways," he said.
"Second Life is unique: it sits at the intersection of virtual worlds, avatars, and human contact," added Humble. "The Residents and developers of Second Life have built something very special, I am honored to join the talented team at Linden Lab to help expand this new frontier."