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Musical ‘chairs’ at Yorkshire game studio Team17

Non-executive chair Chris Bell is to step down at Yorkshire’s Team17, a global games label, creative partner, developer and publisher of independent video games, educational entertainment apps for children and working simulation games.

Bell has been with Team17 since its successful IPO in 2018, and steps down from his role at the end of the year to focus on his other business interests, the company said.

Team17 has meanwhile appointed Frank Sagnier non-executive chair designate and will formally join the company on 6 September 2023. Bell will continue in his role until 31 December 2023, working with Frank to facilitate an orderly handover. Sagnier will officially assume the role of chair from 1 January 2024 upon Chris’ departure.

Sagnier brings over 25 years of gaming sector experience to Team17’s board, having held plc, private equity and senior roles with Codemasters, Electronic Arts, Acclaim Entertainment, Double Fusion, and Funcom. He began his career in advertising at Grey before moving to marketing roles at Warner Bros. Entertainment and Acclaim Entertainment. In 1999, he joined Electronic Arts, where he was responsible for marketing and third-party game development and publishing across Europe.

In 2014, Sagnier was appointed CEO of Codemasters and led the transformation and restructuring of the business, building one of the most iconic racing games development studios and publishers of the F1 racing brand, before leading the company’s successful IPO in 2018. Codemasters was later acquired by EA in 2021, in a deal worth $1.2bn.

Sagnier will chair the nomination committee and be a member of the audit and remuneration committees.

Debbie Bestwick MBE, CEO of Team17, said: “I would like to personally thank Chris for his exceptional support and guidance to myself and the board throughout his time as chair. I extend a very warm welcome to Frank. Frank is one of the most respected gaming executives globally in video games, his knowledge is second to none, but equally his leadership and experience in the gaming world will bring huge value to the board as we prepare for the next stage.”

Sagnier added: “I am looking forward to working with Steve, Mark, the exec team and the board to further build on Team17’s exceptional foundations, to ensure the group continues to achieve its strategic ambitions; delivering exceptional games for players and solid returns for shareholders.”

Team17 is perhaps best-known as the developer behind the global hit Worms, though it’s also well-known for its work on the Alien franchise, and a host of early entry Easter Eggs directed at the games press.

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