John Smedley is stepping down as president and chief executive officer of Daybreak Game Company (ex Sony Online Entertainment), the publisher behind H1Z1, Everquest and Planetside 2. The information comes from a statement given to VentureBeat by a Daybreak spokesperson.
“I can confirm that John Smedley will be taking some time off from the company for the near-term and transitioning to a different role to be determined. Upon finalization of his plans, further communication will be provided” says the statement. Russell Shanks, the current COO of the company, will be stepping in as the new president.
The departure comes at a time when the company was recently struggling with DDoS attacks, from a group called Lizard Squad, which took most of their game servers offline. John Smedley threatened to sue Julius Kivimaki, a member of Lizard Squad partly responsible for a bomb threat which grounded one of Smedley’s flights. After Kivimaki was convicted he received a two-year commuted sentence. In outrage, the then CEO of Daybreak tweeted at Kivimaki that he is “coming for [him]”.
The remaining Lizard Squad members have been harassing Daybreak with DDoS attacks ever since, so the stepping down of John Smedley might take the heat off the company.