Leadership reshuffles at Xsolla put the company's founder back in the hot seat

Shurick Agapitov is back at Xsolla, taking the CEO role as Chris Hewish moves to chief strategy officer role

Leadership reshuffles at Xsolla put the company's founder back in the hot seat

Xsolla, the game commerce company who seemingly never rests on its laurels, is in the news once again as today they announce a management restructure which sees the return of the company’s founder to the CEO hotseat.

In moves designed to issue in Xsolla’s “next chapter of strategic growth and innovation", company founder Shurick Agapitov - aka Aleksandr Agapitov - will return to the company following two years working on side projects following his departure. Agapitov has even recently written a book, entitled Once Upon Tomorrow: Harnessing the New Opportunities the Metaverse Creates wherein he gives his take on the world of content creation and the future potential of the metaverse.

And as the head of Hand of Midas, his LA-based "family office" Agapitov has been investing in the games industry and surrounding tech such as all-in-one gaming monetization platform 3thix, who recently raised $8.5 million pre-seed investment raise.

However, Agapitov is perhaps best known for the interest stirred up around a previous company restructure in 2021 that saw the company lay off around 60 employees after a secret internal investigation found their work rate lacking, and - most notably - the stinging rebuttal that Shurick gave his redundant staff. The event ultimately led to Shurick moving on and the appointment of Chris Hewish as public face and interim CEO and president of Xsolla.

With Agapitov’s return to CEO today, following Hewish’s lead in restoring the company profile, Hewish will be transitioning to the role of chief strategy officer

“[Hewish’s] vital role in shaping Xsolla's trajectory will now be augmented with new responsibilities, focusing on global initiatives, strategic partnerships, and collaborations with publishers. Leveraging his decades of experience in publishing, he will continue to provide guidance and leadership for the Xsolla businesses through strategic partnerships and opportunities with publishers,” says the company.

"In my expanded role, I look forward to leveraging my experience and passion for bringing great games to market to further our strategic objectives and continuing to help Xsolla as it enters this next phase of growth,” says Hewish.

Building the dream team

Today’s reshuffle builds upon the recent appointment of industry veteran David Stelzer, to the role of president. Previously Stelzer was the lead counsel for Sega's North American operations, the global head of video games for Creative Artists Agency and most recently the director for Unreal Engine business development and licensing at Epic Games. "My goal is to enhance our direct-to-consumer offerings, building upon the strong foundation laid before, and to expand their accessibility and value to the gaming community worldwide,” he says.

Berkley Egenes, chief marketing & growth officer - who remains unchanged in his role - comments, "We're shaping marketing strategies that transcend boundaries, ensuring our brand resonates with and inclusively represents the diverse tapestry of the global gaming community for developers and players alike."

Meanwhile Sophia Lisaius, Xsolla’s VP of people & culture’s challenge becomes, "to cultivate a nurturing workplace that champions growth, diversity, and innovation, where every team member contributes to the transformative journey of the gaming community."

Xsolla’s release on the return of Agapitov concludes: “As Xsolla steps into 2024, this empowered leadership team is set to navigate the complexities of the gaming industry with innovative strategies and a vision for comprehensive growth for its partners. The company stands on the brink of a transformative era, poised to make significant strides in the global gaming market. This new phase, under the visionary leadership of Shurick Agapitov and his team, represents an exciting future for Xsolla as it continues to shape the landscape of gaming commerce.”

Editor -

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest entertainment media brands in the world. He's interviewed countless big names, and covered countless new releases in the fields of videogames, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors and garden design. Yup, he said garden design… He’s the ex-Editor of PSM2, PSM3, GamesMaster and Future Music, ex-Deputy Editor of The Official PlayStation Magazine and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Rhythm, Computer Music and more. He hates talking about himself.