Linden Lab has officially selected digital marketing executive Mark Kingdon to replace founder Philip Rosedale as their new CEO effective May 15th. Kingdon leaves his position as CEO of the digital ad agency Organic, Inc. to join the Linden Lab team.
“a person with the rare and unusual combination of business leadership, creativity, and passion for Second Life that we were looking for. In terms of history, he has a background in art, economics, and business. He has been in successful and highly regarded leadership roles at two companies that are bigger than Linden Lab: PricewaterhouseCoopers and Organic. He is a well-loved people leader who is fearless and can weather challenges and change.”
Rosedale goes on to say:
“He will have an intense focus on improving the in-world experience and stability and reliability of Second Life. He has extensive hands-on experience with user experience design, which will be critical in making Second Life an easier and better experience for more people. Finally, he has a ton of experience leading companies and products with global reach, which is now essential given that the great majority of Second Life usage is international and Linden Lab will continue to grow as an international company with offices in many locations.”
Kingdon, who now be known as “M Linden” in-world, had used a previous avatar known as Marcus Voom since January, 2007 and described himself as an occasional Second Life user despite the fact that his profile is mostly blank and searches for Marcus Voom returned no results other than this new announcement. While Marcus Voom does not appear to have made much of an impact on the Second Life community, Kingdon did write an article on the opportunities for advertisers in virtual worlds, specifically Second Life in August, 2006. Kingdon told Reuters on Tuesday that while bringing back consumer brands was not a priority, he would like to see:
“a continuation and even acceleration of the incredible in-world development we’ve seen from engaged, highly participative residents. that will create the richness of experience and vibrant economy that’s so important. If there are companies that can participate in the organic growth of Second Life, it’s a great place for them.”
Kingdon now has the extremely difficult task of transforming Second Life into a stable, efficient, well-organized business without losing the magic that makes it unique and without upsetting the “residents” who have high expectations and have not previously responded well to change.