Red 5 Board Votes Out Co-Founder Mark Kern As CEO (UPDATE)

UPDATE, 12:11 p.m. PST, Dec. 20: Red 5 Studios has confirmed Mark Kern is no longer its chief executive officer, as of Dec. 19.

In an email to Game Front, Red 5 Producer Matt DeWald stated that Vice President of Development James Macauley will serve as acting CEO. DeWald wrote:

“As of Thursday, December 19th, Mark Kern is no longer the Chief Executive Officer of Red 5 Studios. Mark founded Red 5 Studios in 2006 to provide exceptional game entertainment along with a world-class team of developers working on the MMO Shooter, Firefall. Red 5 Vice President of Development, James Macauley, will be moving into the role of acting CEO. The team at Red 5 continues work on Firefall and looks forward to all that we have to offer in 2014.”

DeWald also stated that Red 5 is not providing any additional information right now. Game Front will continue to follow this story and update it as it develops.

Original story:

The board of directors of Firefall developer Red 5 Studios has voted to remove co-founder Mark Kern from his role as chief executive officer, according to an email sent to Red 5 employees and obtained by Game Front.

According to the email sent by Vice President of Development James Macauley, the board voted to remove Kern as CEO “effectively immediately,” as well as from his position on the board. Kern will “no longer have any authority to act for or on behalf of Red 5 Studios.”

In the email, Macauley assures employees that he and other management staff at the company “will continue to be here to serve and support each of you,” but also acknowledges that “this is a major change for our company,” without going into further detail about what might change at the studio.

Red 5 has not officially announced Kern’s removal from the positions.

The email, provided by a source close to the situation, is included below:

“My fellow Red 5ers,

“Today, the Red 5 Studios Board of Directors met and after deliberation have decided that Mark Kern will no longer be the Chief Executive Officer or on the Board of Red 5 Studios. Effective immediately Mark will no longer have any authority to act for or on behalf of Red 5 Studios.

“As one of the founders of Red 5 Studios and our leader for many, many years, we owe Mark a great deal of appreciation for all that he has done to help build this company and to set the vision for an incredible new game. I am personally grateful for my relationship with Mark and the many years I have worked with him.

“This is a major change to our company. Your managers and I will set to work to cover any and all areas that Mark was directly handling and we are continuing to solidify the plan for 2014. I assure you that we are and will continue to be here to serve and support each of you.

“We will be holding a team meeting to discuss this topic at 11:15 a.m. tomorrow but I wanted to make sure you were officially informed of this significant change to your company.

“Please grab me or any of the managers at any time or give us a call if you would like to discuss in private.

“Please refrain from discussing this topic outside the company.


Kern was the last of Red 5′s four founders with the company, all of whom formerly worked at Blizzard Entertainment on its MMO, World of Warcraft. Kern rose to the position of CEO in 2009. During his time as CEO, the company announced its massively multiplayer online game Firefall, and it was revealed in 2010 that Chinese publisher The9 had acquired a majority stake in the company. Around that time, Red 5 was hit with layoffs that cut its roster of employees down to about 30 from 65.

Further layoffs occurred in September as Red 5 said it was restructuring ahead of Firefall’s launch. At that time, Red 5 laid off some 10 percent of its staff.

Game Front is reaching out to Red 5 for comment on the situation, and this story will be updated as it develops.

Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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9 Comments on Red 5 Board Votes Out Co-Founder Mark Kern As CEO (UPDATE)


On December 20, 2013 at 1:30 am

Maybe now whoever is in charge will make some decisions that actually make sense for the game.


On December 20, 2013 at 4:51 am



On December 20, 2013 at 7:42 am

Many who worked that new people that didn’t work there, that played the game, group with me in game and mentioned that most of the people that used to work there, said he was running the company into the ground.

So there’s that, take it with a grain of salt if you want. It’s come to pass regardless.

Michael Weingartner

On December 20, 2013 at 9:24 am

I wish the team all the best. I hope this helps them find a path forward with Firefall.


On December 20, 2013 at 11:16 am

With a clear conscience I want to recommend the Hostel Royal, great conditions, probably the only hostel in Wroclaw with bathrooms in the rooms, delightful personell, free wifi, tea. And all this at the Market!

Dump N Pump

On December 21, 2013 at 5:18 am

Talk about biting the hand that feeds.