Don’t Call It a Comeback: Riot Games Names Co-Founder Marc Merrill President of Games

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Riot Games
Image courtesy of Riot Games

More than four years after stepping down as co-CEO, Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill has been named the L.A. video game developer’s president of games—putting him in charge of franchises including the studio’s blockbuster “League of Legends” title.

After Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent broke the news on Twitter Thursday, Merrill responded that he “can’t wait to jump in… on super secret projects,” tagging several Riot executives and developers. Since he and Riot co-founder Brandon Beck relinquished their co-CEO roles at the end of 2017, the pair have served as co-chairmen of the company.


Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill

Riot Games President of Games Marc Merrill.

Image courtesy of Riot Games

According to Polygon, Merrill has played a more informal role in producing various projects for Riot Games in recent years—such as commemorating the 10-year anniversary of “League of Legends” in 2019 and producing Riot’s 2021 animated Netflix series “Arcane.” Now, Merrill is turning his focus back toward overseeing gaming content for the publisher.

“Marc is one of the key visionary leaders who helped create Riot, build ‘League of Legends’ into a global phenomenon and drive Riot’s mission to become the most player-focused game company in the world,” Laurent said in a statement provided to dot.LA. “We have ambitious goals for Riot’s next phase of growth—it’s truly just the beginning for our live games and we also plan to enter a few other, very different genres—and Marc is the perfect person to lead our Games teams in delivering those incredible experiences for players

Merill and Beck co-founded Riot Games in 2006; five years later, the company was acquired by Chinese tech giant Tencent. After the pair stepped down as co-chief executives four years ago, Laurent, Riot’s then-president of global publishing, took the reins as CEO.

At the beginning of this year, Laurent laid out his five-year vision for Riot Games—including plans to embrace a more flexible hybrid work model, an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and designs on more seasons of “Arcane.” Laurent also said Riot will open more development studios around the world to build out its talent base globally.

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Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

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Photo: Slingshot Aerospace

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