In a company wide letter issued this morning, Chad Gutstein handed over the reins to the gaming-focused video network and media company. Below is his departure letter.
Three years ago, I enlisted in a professional challenge unlike any other I’d yet faced; to re-invigorate a struggling digital brand and a team with a broken spirit and help it rediscover what made it great, so it could once again thrive. Together, we have wildly succeeded at this challenge.
I have been so very fortunate to have had all of you on this journey alongside me. We could not have succeeded without your passion, your hard work, and your willingness to boldly confront what was broken and put it back together stronger than ever before. You rebuilt Machinima’s culture, Machinima’s brand and created Machinima’s success.
And wow have you succeeded. In fact, we surpassed all expectations. We doubled Machinima’s reach, re-built a strong and profitable MCN by delivering meaningful value to our talented partners, and pivoted our business by launching a large and growing premium content studio. We evolved from a YouTube-only company, to one distributing our content across all major social networks, leading OTT services, MVPDs and even to traditional TV and radio. We produced groundbreaking, award-winning and highly entertaining content. We helped hundreds of companies connect to gamer and geek audiences. We grew our business and improved our profitability. And we realized liquidity for our venture shareholders and found a dedicated, supportive and ambitious new owner in Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. has been an incredible business partner to me and to Machinima these past three years. I’m so very grateful to Craig Hunegs, Thomas Gewecke, Jay Levine, Robert Steele and the many other talented and passionate Warner Bros. executives who believed in what we were trying to accomplish. They supported our efforts not only with their investment, but through executional partnership and support.
I’m grateful to Geoff Yang, Bret Maxwell, Tony Vinciquerra, Matt Coffin, Mark Terbeek, Yair Landau, and of course, to our visionary co-founder Allen DeBevoise, for giving me the opportunity to come to Machinima. Our former Board and shareholders believed in Machinima’s success and in our collective ability to return the company to strength. They supported me, and our team, every step of the way.
I’m grateful to Machinima’s legion of amazingly talented network partners. Many stuck with us through those early days. Many more gave us a chance to prove how great a business partner we could be. Because they have pushed us to be great, Machinima now has the strongest, best service offering and most satisfied partners in our history.
We must give thanks to the 150 million fans who watch our content each and every month.
I’m especially grateful for our team. I’d like to specifically mention Marc Verville, Stephen Semprevivo, Chris Riley, Joe Epstein, David Shikiar, Jason Dimberg, Don Reilley, Kesa Tsuda, Daniel Tibbets, Jamie Weissenborn, and Tricia White. The dedication, perseverance, passion and hard work these people have demonstrated is incredible. Their work has benefited all of us and made us all stronger.
Thank you also to Alec McElroy, who helped me help Machinima every day.
When I joined Machinima, Stephen was the first member of the senior team to really embrace me and jump on-board. As Russell takes the helm, I know you will all follow Stephens’s example by embracing her. Russell has been a business partner and advocate for Machinima and I have complete confidence she will lead you to even greater success.
It has been my greatest professional honor to come to work here, for you, every day these past three years. Machinima is strong. This team is strong. But don’t be complacent. Keep daring to be stronger.