All Change At WotC: New President Arrives From Microsoft As Greg Leeds Resigns

WotC's President, Greg Leeds, has resigned, to be replaced by Microsoft's Chris Cocks. The changeover takes place on June 6th, with Leeds staying on to facilitate a smooth transfer. Greg Leeds has been President of WotC for 8 years, since 2008. Chris Cock's most recent position was Vice President of OEM Technical Sales at Microsoft. The full press release is below.


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Chris Cocks

Press Release


PAWTUCKET, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hasbro, Inc. today announced that Greg Leeds has resigned as President of Wizards of the Coast, and will be replaced by Chris Cocks who joins the company from Microsoft. Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, offers games and entertainment under world-renowned brands such as MAGIC: THE GATHERING, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, and DUEL MASTERS. Leeds has served as the President of Wizards of the Coast since 2008, and started at Hasbro in 2001. He will stay on to ensure a smooth transition to Cocks, who will officially join the team in Seattle on June 6.

“We are incredibly thankful to Greg for the tremendous contributions he has made to Hasbro, especially during his time leading Wizards of the Coast,” said John Frascotti, President, Hasbro Brands. “Today, thanks to Greg’s commitment and passion, Wizards of the Coast’s brands are stronger than ever. Though MAGIC: THE GATHERING was introduced more than 20 years ago, it is more relevant and popular today than it’s ever been, with a record number of people around the world playing the game and participating in MAGIC organized play events.”

Leeds will be replaced by Chris Cocks, who most recently served as Vice President, OEM Technical Sales at Microsoft Corporation, where he led a global sales and technical engagement team. Prior to his eight-year tenure with Microsoft, Chris served as Vice President of Educational Games at LeapFrog, where he led a cross-discipline team to drive hardware planning, software design and development, marketing and channel management. He began his career in brand management at Procter & Gamble and served in product management and marketing leadership positions in Xbox and MSN, including work on hit franchises like Halo and Fable, prior to joining Leapfrog. Cocks is an avid player and fan of Wizards of the Coast brands, including MAGIC: THE GATHERING and DUNGEONS & DRAGONS.

“We’re very excited to welcome Chris to the Wizards of the Coast family,” said Frascotti. “As an avid fan and player with extensive digital experience, I’m confident Chris is the right person to help us build on the tremendous momentum around our brands and take the franchise to the next level by delivering exciting new experiences to our growing and passionate fan base around the world."

See the list of ex-WotC employees here.
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Tectuktitlay

Villager
Man, I would love to spend cash on *actual DnD* stuff. Maybe Chris is the guy that can make this happen?
Yeah, lol. This. People complain about wanting physical books, which is fine. But I would spend SO much more on D&D products if WotC offered fairly priced digital books, like pretty much every other company in the entire freaking world is now doing. Physical products for things can be nice, but I really want and need digital copies.

We purged enormous amounts of our physical books of all types a couple years ago, and now have huge digital libraries instead. And man, I have to say. Not having to move five-and-a-half tons of paper every time we move is amaaaaaaaaazing. Having all of my RPG books on my 13" tablet-laptop, on my PC, and the most important ones on my smartphone, so basically permanently at my fingertips at all times, is the best thing ever.

Without any shame, I regularly peruse DriveThruRPG and snag everything that is Pay What You Want, then repurchase it for money if I enjoy it enough to keep it. I have no problem jumping on every Kickstarter for things like Numenara and the like, and snagging just the every-PDF option, every time. For dramatically less money, I have so many more RPG options now, it's mind-boggling.
 
A lot of comments focusing on D&D and computers, but how is MtG going these days? Are sales dropping?MtG is WotC's most important brand.
There has been a lot of shakeups in MtG: switching from 1 block with 3 sets plus a core set to 2 blocks with two sets and no core set, cutting of supplemental products, and MtGO being very clunky to use, but OTOH, The last set (Shadows over Innistrad) is highly praised and sales are generally strong. They could certainly use the help in the digital front though.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Wow. I am going to reserve judgement until I hear more about Chris Cocks. But I sure want to know what caused Greg Leeds to resign.
Probably he was just ready to move on. That does happen, you know.

I mean, yeah, maybe he was forced out. But given that M:tG has been revitalized in the last few years and the money tree is once more in bloom, and the gambles the company took on 5E seem to be paying off nicely, and things in general seem rosy... why push him out now? The simplest explanation is that he stepped down because he was tired of running WotC and wanted a change, or to retire.

Now, connecting the Cocks hire to WotC's tech woes makes perfect sense. But I don't buy it as the reason Leeds left. I think Hasbro just said, "Man, Leeds did a hell of a job, too bad he's leaving. Now we gotta replace him. Hmm... well, the one thing WotC really struggles with is technology. Let's see if we can get somebody in with a tech background this time."
 

Tectuktitlay

Villager
Sales of Magic have been incredibly strong. It's extremely successful.
Yeah, even with an 8% dip from the previous quarter (people didn't like the newest Zendikar block that much at all, for some reason), sales are still really strong. The tournament scene is bigger than ever. Plus, people seem to really like the new Innistrad block quite a bit, meaning a likely raise in MtG sales again on the next quarterly.

So something like this, with a possible concerted effort to really dig into Hearthstone's online market share, along with hopefully shoving D&D into the digital age properly once and for all (obviously this is speculation on my part, but I really hope so), the sales on both could benefit enormously in the long run, with a player of these games who is experienced in digital marketing being put in charge.
 

Cody C. Lewis

Villager
I am going to reserve my judgement completely. This could be awesome or terrible, and I have no idea.

I will say that the ONLY thing I am nervous about is when bringing in someone from outside the company, there is a potential for some resentment. I hope Chris Cocks can handle the transition smoothly and that he works well with the D&D team. The D&D team is so small at the moment... I am holding my breathe that there are not a lot of changes to the path that Chris Perkins and Mike Mearls have us on with the current release pacing.

But honestly, I'm sure everyone will be professional, and get along.
 

werecorpse

Explorer
I am a D&D player not a Magic player so no comment on that front, but to the extent Mr Leeds was involved in 5e I say thanks, good job, enjoy your next project.
To Mr Cocks I say welcome, it's an exciting time for D&D at the moment with lots of varied expectations - movies, digital presence, slow release v more product. Good luck.
 

Koloth

Villager
Hopefully the new guy will understand the importance of having the digital products like a character generator and such ready to release at the same time as the print products rather then a year or so after.

This transition seems planned. It is when you hear the phrase, "Resigned for personal/family reasons" or "to pursue other opportunities" that your alarm bells should go off. Especially if "Bob from Accounting" is announced as the interim pending the start of the search for a new hire.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
So unlike Leeds, he's actually played D&D and MtG in a non-business capacity. Which is exciting.

Played both? Either? In tabletop format? I didn't see that in the release.


As for the rest of it, I am optimistic. Bringing in someone from Microsoft seems like a very good move. I look forward to see what new directions he takes the various WotC brands.
 

dd.stevenson

Super KY
-- he led a global sales and technical engagement team
-- he led a cross-discipline team to drive hardware planning, software design and development, marketing and channel management
-- he served in product management and marketing leadership positions in Xbox and MSN, including work on hit franchises like Halo and Fable
It's difficult for me not to see this resume as part of an effort to finally get a successful MTG-themed competitor to hearthstone off the ground.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
It's there. I quoted it.
End of the 4th paragraph and in the 5th paragraph at the end of the release.

What you quoted is open to interpretation. In fact, the portion you cut off actually makes it seem like he is a player of D&D branded video games, not necessarily tabletop games, which is why I asked. "A player with extensive digital experience" could just as easily mean he plays or played the computer versions of D&D, particularly because of the placement of the commas and phrasing.


Cocks is an avid player and fan of Wizards of the Coast brands, including MAGIC: THE GATHERING and DUNGEONS & DRAGONS.
“We’re very excited to welcome Chris to the Wizards of the Coast family,” said Frascotti. “As an avid fan and player with extensive digital experience, I’m confident Chris is the right person to help us build on the tremendous momentum around our brands and take the franchise to the next level by delivering exciting new experiences to our growing and passionate fan base around the world."
 

ChrisCarlson

Villager
What you quoted is open to interpretation. In fact, the portion you cut off actually makes it seem like he is a player of D&D branded video games, not necessarily tabletop games, which is why I asked. "A player with extensive digital experience" could just as easily mean he plays or played the computer versions of D&D, particularly because of the placement of the commas and phrasing.
Wow. There truly is no escape from the dreaded Parse-Beasts of Enworldia(tm)!
 

DM Howard

Explorer
I am sure this has to do with the recent announcement that WotC is working on an improved and integrated digital Magic the Gathering experience. I wouldn't mind some digital love for D&D as well, but I would really just like more stuff to, you know, buy.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
Wow. There truly is no escape from the dreaded Parse-Beasts of Enworldia(tm)!

Several degrees in English and Communications makes it easy to parse corporate speech. But we'll find out sooner or later, I am sure, when he gives the inevitable interview. Nevertheless, I seem to be one of the few posters in the thread who actually sees his coming to WotC as a very good thing.
 

lyle.spade

Explorer
Not cool. You can be sure he's heard them all. Especially in high school. No need to add to it. You might want to read the other post on the front page about harassment.
I thought it was funny, too. I am happy to see that he's a gamer and not just a branding/marketing/business guy. If he's got the gamer gene and all that other industry experience he'll do the company and hobby good.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
What you quoted is open to interpretation. In fact, the portion you cut off actually makes it seem like he is a player of D&D branded video games, not necessarily tabletop games, which is why I asked. "A player with extensive digital experience" could just as easily mean he plays or played the computer versions of D&D, particularly because of the placement of the commas and phrasing.
Maybe. It might mean he just played Baldur's Gate two decades ago.
But that's a fairly cynical reading of the portion. I'm taking it at face value, that he's a fan of D&D.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
Maybe. It might mean he just played Baldur's Gate two decades ago.
But that's a fairly cynical reading of the portion. I'm taking it at face value, that he's a fan of D&D.

Either is face value. One or the other is only cynical if someone has a stake in the opposite interpretation.

Nevertheless, Last week I was discussing all the recent job postings with some other folks and we wondered if something even bigger was coming. This would seem to be something bigger. Pretty wild there have been nearly two dozen listings at the WotC job board since less than one month ago.

https://company.wizards.com/about/careers
 
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