Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and CryptoPunks nonfungible token (NFT) collections, has a new CEO, Daniel Alegre. The executive resigned as president and chief operating officer of the gaming giant Activision Blizzard to join the NFT startup on April 1.
“Couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter,” he wrote on Twitter. Alegre was a crucial player in Activision Blizzard’s growth in recent years, overseeing popular gaming franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo and Candy Crush.
The executive has been involved in the gaming, entertainment and technology industries for many years. According to his LinkedIn profile, Alegre worked for the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann for nearly six years before joining Google, where he worked for more than 16 years in various leadership positions overseeing areas such as global shopping revenue, retail ecosystem engagement, and operations in the Asia Pacific and Latin America.
Yuga Labs announced Alegre’s arrival in December 2022. In a press release at the time, the executive said, “the company’s pipeline of products, partnerships, and IP [intellectual property] represents a massive opportunity to define the metaverse.“
The opportunities will also come with challenges. A class-action lawsuit filed in December in the United States accuses BAYC creators of misleading investors about the financial benefits of Yuga securities, and using celebrity promoters to lure in more investors. Investors that bought BAYC and ApeCoin (APE) between April 23, 2021, and Dec. 8, 2022, may be entitled to compensation, claims Rosen Law Firm.
Aside from that, Yuga Labs co-founder Wylie Aronow took a leave of absence in January to prioritize his health following a congestive heart failure diagnosis. It’s unclear when he will be able to resume his responsibilities.
Alegre’s arrival has been considered a bold move in the NFT industry. Kieran Warwick, a co-founder of the blockchain role-playing game Illuvium, said that Yuga Labs’ new hire is “big for all of GameFi,” suggesting that Web3 gaming will spark the next crypto bull run.