Second Life CEO to Step Down, Founder Returns as Interim CEO

Linden Lab's CEO is stepping down and founder Philip Rosedale will return as interim CEO, the parent company to Second Life announced Thursday in a blog posting.

CEO Mark Kingdon's resignation comes less than three weeks after the pioneering virtual world creator announced a strategic restructuring, in which is cut its workforce by 30%. The company's efforts to build its customer base and retain them once they're there has proved challenging, with one source noting an earlier effort in the past year to overhaul its client software flopped when it failed to deliver the increase in users as expected.

In announcing the change, Rosedale said that Bob Komin, former chief financial officer, is being promoted to chief operating officer and will work by Rosedale's side. In a statement, Rosedale said:
This is a big, tough change but one the board of directors and management team deeply believes in. We owe Mark great thanks for the many things we've accomplished in these last two years -- most notably a great improvement in the stability of Second Life, and also the hiring and nurturing of a strong team of new leaders who are now ready to do some amazing work together.

Our thinking as a team is that my returning to the CEO job now can bring a product and technology focus that will help rapidly improve Second Life. We need to simplify and focus our product priorities -- concentrating all our capabilities on making Second Life easier to use and better for the core experiences that it is delivering today. I think that I can be a great help and a strong leader in that process.

It is an honor to have a chance to help more directly again, and I come to this mission with energy, excitement, and an open mind about what we need and how we need to do it. I want to see Second Life continue to grow, amaze, and change the world. It's what gets me up in the morning. Despite the challenges of such a big change, I am happy to be drafting this blog post while sitting in our San Francisco office, surrounded by the many Lindens who have made it all possible.

More to come, as soon as we all get settled and figure out how best to work together!
Rosedale's return to the CEO post, albeit in a temporary role, comes two years after he announced his resignation in that role in March 2008. The company has not only had to contend with sluggish growth with its customer base but also a string of lawsuits over who exactly retains ownership over what in the virtual Second Life world, with one of the latest such lawsuits filed in April.
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