Team17 shares fall amid news CEO will step down

Shares of Wakefield-based Team17 Group, the developer of video games and educational entertainment apps, fell about 8% as it announced CEO Debbie Bestwick will step down soon and it published results for 2022.

Team17 said 2022 revenue soared 52% to £137.4 million and profit before tax slipped 1% to £28.7 million.

The company said Bestwick has indicated her intention to step down from the CEO role once a suitable successor can be found.

It said Bestwick, who owns 20.8% of the firm’s stock, will “transition into a non-executive role, remaining on the board to provide ongoing mentorship, support and guidance to the board and the senior management team …”

Team17 said: “A search for a suitable successor has been initiated and this will consider both external and internal candidates.

“Debbie will play a key part in finding the right person to replace her and will ensure that an orderly business handover takes place once that key person has been identified.

Debbie will remain with the business as chief executive officer whilst the search for her successor is in progress.

“Her incredible passion and drive for Team17 remains undiminished and it is that passion and drive that will also be focussed on finding the right successor working closely with the board.

“Debbie will remain equally focussed on maintaining a ‘business-as-normal’ mentality across the group, with the senior team committed to delivering the group’s strategic ambitions.

Over the last eighteen months, a highly experienced and effective divisional senior leadership team has been established, that work closely together with the executive team and are closely aligned to the group’s core values.

“This team now runs the day-to-day divisions within the group and boasts extensive and unequalled gaming industry knowledge and operational experience.

Following a new CEO appointment, the intention is for Debbie to transition into a non-executive role, remaining on the board to provide ongoing mentorship, support and guidance to the board and the senior management team, ensuring the group continues to benefit from her wealth of business and gaming sector experience.”

Bestwick said: “This has probably been the hardest decision I’ve made, but I wouldn’t have made it if I wasn’t confident in the succession plans and the leadership team’s ability to deliver the clear and focused strategy regarding our collective goals and ambitions.

“Ultimately, I want to spend more time with my children who have made sacrifices many times during my career and specifically to spend more time with my youngest before he goes to university.

“With Team17 now unrecognisable compared to those early days, and with our fantastic senior team working seamlessly across the business and our growth strategy firmly in place, now is the time to focus on the next generation.

“The future looks extremely bright for the group, and I look forward to continuing to support the business to find my successor and then in a new capacity as a non-executive director when that time arrives.”

Team17 chair Chris Bell said: “I would like to personally thank Debbie for her absolute devotion to Team17 and know that without her almost limitless enthusiasm for the business, we simply would not be where we are today.

“We all collectively wish her the very best in all her future endeavours and look forward to continuing to benefit from her unrivalled knowledge when she joins the board as a non-executive director.

“We the board and Debbie are actively engaged in a search process to find a new chief executive officer and will update our shareholders at the appropriate time.

“Knowing Debbie so well it will be ‘business-as-normal’ and she will be 100%+ focused on her CEO duties right through.”

On the 2022 results, Bestwick said: “2022 was unquestionably a transformational year with a strong performance for the group.

“Personally, I feel it was characterised by the delivery of our highly selective M&A strategy, alongside our team’s successful lifecycle management across our portfolio.

“Last year we collectively focused in on our long-term strategy on a division-by-division basis and doubled down on future pipeline roadmaps.

“It’s a privilege to work with the leadership team within the group, as well as their individual teams; they are passionately committed to the group’s values, core business model, and future ambitions.

“As the Team17 family grew in 2022, it was a priority for us to ensure everyone in our team felt equally part of the broader group.

“To this end we were delighted to extend our fully funded Employee Benefit Trust (EBT), to ensure all our UK and European team members have the opportunity to be shareholders.

“Team17 now has its most diverse range of owned, third-party, and licensed IP yet, targeting the broadest audiences across multiple platforms with a clear, deliverable roadmap ahead and we look forward to updating our shareholders on our progress throughout 2023.”