Ukie Board Nominations 2019

Voting is now open in Ukie's 2019 board elections.

An email has been sent to the main contact from each Member company. This email contains the link to this voting page and the passcode which is needed to cast your votes. If your company has not received an email please contact Sam Collins at sam@ukie.org.uk.

We strongly urge whoever is voting on behalf of your company to use all six votes to ensure that your company's voice is fully heard.

Voting closes at 5pm on Wednesday 28th August. The results of the election will be announced at Ukie's AGM on its Members' Day on Wednesday 4th September. Ukie members can sign up to attend the AGM here.

The candidates

Alex Peters, SVP, Searchlight & Development Services, SEGA

I joined the industry as a programmer at Bullfrog Productions in 1995 and have never looked back. My journey has included working on many great games (Dungeon Keeper, Harry Potter, Battlefield, Company of Heroes, Skylanders) at many great studios (Bullfrog, DICE, Relic), for some of the biggest publishers (Electronic Arts, Activision, SEGA). This included a 12-year stint working in Sweden, Canada and the USA. I’ve now returned home and want to ensure the UK continues its unique place in this great industry.

Ukie has a great responsibility to represent the industry in a broad range of topics, that are key to ensuring it remains healthy and inclusive for all. I believe my deep development knowledge and publishing experience allows me to represent all aspects of the industry.

Chris Payne, Company Director, Quantum Soup Studios

I’ve worked in games since 1996, from a junior programmer at EA up to Associate Lead at TT Games and more recently learning to do business development at my own indie studio. Since founding Quantum Soup I’ve discovered a wonderful network of colleagues who have advised and supported me, and I owe a lot of that network to participating in Ukie events. I’ve also developed a better understanding of the issues facing the industry at all levels, from staff training and employee rights to rapidly changing business models and Brexit uncertainty.

I’m already active in growing the industry in my local area, co-founding the northern arm of Games Wales and speaking at local schools and universities with BAFTA, Speakers For Schools and IntoFilm. More recently I’ve been working with Games4EU to try to mitigate the damage of Brexit.

As a Ukie Board member I want to build on that and help identify concrete steps studios can take for brexit preparation, as this is the most immediate threat to our industry. Beyond that I’m keen to improve industry outreach to parents and legislators, many of whom still don’t understand the unbridled creativity of games. It was painful watching the select committee struggling to understand age verification and parental controls recently. I would love to help demystify games to those who don’t yet play them.

Ewan Lamont, CEO, Legendary Games Ltd

As the CEO of a small indie dev I’m well versed in all the corporate governance requirements that being a board member would entail. I’m supportive of all the corporate and social responsibility activities that Ukie is involved with and it is heartening to see how over the years Ukie has grown more inclusive with smaller developers joining and becoming more actively involved.  I feel there is still a lot more that can be done.  As a user of Ukie services especially at international trade events I believe there is a lower tier of support missing that could be offered to smaller users that would benefit both Ukie and our members.

We are living in an increasingly hostile environment for our industry. From being accused of warping player’s minds so they commit atrocities, threatened regulation of online services, VAT rule changes on digital products and various data legislation changes setting up a tech company in the UK is harder now than when I started nine years ago.  It would be good if we could use our influence as an industry trade body to try and reverse the process so that becomes safer and easier for companies and players.  It is these that I think should be the policy priorities of the association in 2020.

Helen Burnill, Commercial Director, Mediatonic

Having seen an amazing time of continuous commitment to modernisation and governance review at Ukie, I'd be thrilled to be elected for a second term on the Board. I'm personally hugely passionate about the industry, checking the balance of power between creators and financiers, and advocating for ongoing focus on attracting diverse talent into the industry.

Professionally, I've helped Mediatonic grow from indie studio to global games business and commit to working on behalf of devs large and small, in bringing the perspective of a fast-growing, people-driven independent developer to the table.

Katherine Bidwell, Founder, State of Play Games

As founder of State of Play Games, an independent games studio, I offer a unique perspective to the UKIE Board. I can provide insight into the interests of the indie games sector and I believe in Ukie’s passion to ensure that the UK is the best and most creative place to make games in the world.  I’m committed to continue helping it do so.

With over 15 years in the Games industry I have a broad insight into the business of making games, I have valuable knowledge of leading a creative independent team, as well as in-depth experience of the games industry community. If I am re-elected I will continue to help Ukie in their excellent work they do for their members. It’s been a joy to be on the Ukie Board and I hope I can continue to contribute by being re-elected.

Kirsty Rigden, Development Director, FuturLab

I have over 15 years of experience in the industry, initially as a game designer working for a variety of large companies, and for the last 9 years as Development Director at FuturLab. My responsibilities have included transitioning FuturLab from a bedroom start up to a respected independent studio with strong relationships across the industry and retention of our own IP.

I am seeking re-election onto the Ukie board. Having learnt a great deal during my tenure, I am able provide a different viewpoint to the board when presented with the challenges faced by our industry. I’d like to be able to continue to provide a voice for the smaller developers, knowing the difficulties we face, from skills shortages, funding opportunities and the looming unknown of Brexit.

I am a massive advocate for our industry, I love what we can achieve and I love meeting the people who do it. I am passionate about improving the perception of our industry by the wider public and UK government, and helping those who may not have considered a career to discover their place within it. Last year I co-founded the non-profit Into Games with the aim to bridge the gap in diversity by creating easy access to information through various opportunities, including mentorship and career mapping, starting with children as young as 8.

Mark Cox, UK General Manager (CM), Riot Games

Over the last two decades, I have acquired wide-ranging experience working at Activision and Riot Games that I believe puts me in a great position to help advise Ukie on decisions that will benefit UK gamers and the wider games industry.

I have been closely involved in the rise of esports, first of all at Activision where we built out the Call of Duty World League infrastructure on the back of explosive organic growth around the multiplayer side of the game, and then with Riot, where my time has coincided with the growth of the League of Legends competitive scene. That experience spans global tournaments like the LoL World Championship (Worlds), as well as the launch of regional and grassroots competition in Australia and the UK.

I also have first-hand experience of the evolution of boxed product and free-to-play business models over the past two decades. Call of Duty was the archetypal triple-A boxed product, supported by heavyweight launch marketing and close relationships with first-party console manufacturers. League of Legends is a total contrast - an evergreen product that everyone can play for free and which lives and dies on its ability to earn and retain players’ interest.

As Riot moves into a multi-game future, my position as UK Country Manager also gives me a unique vantage point on issues affecting global players and games businesses at all points of the product life cycle. Should I be accepted onto the Ukie board, I would look to leverage this experience to humbly serve our collective customers and colleagues whose passion and support help make the British games industry so successful.

Nina Collins, Production Manager, Auroch Digital

I am passionate about making positive change and assisting Ukie in representing the games industry in both the UK and worldwide. My background in games industry-specific HR, finance, production and business development has given me a well-rounded understanding of a lot of the challenges and needs of games companies. Alongside the wide range of projects I have worked on in my role with Auroch Digital, I also manage the day to day running of Bristol Games Hub and organise events such as the Bristol Global Game Jam and publisher pitching events, giving local studios and startups the chance to meet with big publishers and investors.

I specialise in creating a positive company culture, looking at the way the games industry can support the people who work within it, how employers can create high performing games with a team of happy employees who love what they do.

Paul Andrews, Director of Multiple Media Companies, Retro Games Ltd

I would like to apply because as well as heading up multiple media/game companies I am also ‘lead media’ SEMLEP ambassador and on the training and educational board for semlep so think amazing opportunity for cross over/funding and more for future generations of coders/artists and designers etc

Robert Kinder, Publishing Director, Payload Studios

I’m standing for election this year as there are several areas within the UK games industry that I would like to see improved and supported, and joining the Ukie board is one of the key ways I can help introduce meaningful change.  Areas I'd like to contribute towards include:

Education
- Improving resources available to parents and carers, to help explain platforms, payments, age ratings and parental tools
- Continuing the great work of the Digital Schoolhouse program, improving the adoption of digital learning initiatives

Diversity
- Sharing learnings and benefits gained from our (Payload Studios) hosted diversity events
- Pushing for term limits on board positions, and encouraging applicants from more diverse backgrounds, age groups and levels of experience into the process

Opportunity
- Creating more opportunities for new/small teams to pitch and present to potential funding and publishing prospects, providing advice/resources through the process
- Establishing a more cost-effective way for developers to attend key gaming events
- Helping to lobby for more government support in the wake of any form of brexit.
 
With over 14 years in development and publishing, I believe I have the ability to represent the needs of UK developers, with a particular focus on new and growing independent teams.

Simon Barratt, CEO and Co-founder, Cooperative Innovations Ltd

As we work through one of the most challenging periods for the UK (and international) industry from a policy and perception point of view I hope to continue my work on the Ukie Board, with your support.

I'm very passionate about ensuring that we balance the protection of young gamers (speaking as a father of a 12 year old daughter) with the innovation and creativity of our wonderful industry.

I also wish to ensure that we're forward looking as a trade association with VR/AR growing as an industry segment and making sure that we keep pushing support for a diverse range of companies and individuals across the whole of the UK.

Thank you!

Spencer Crossley, Founder, Nineteeneleven games

As an avid industry stalwart with an excess of 27 years experience working with organisations of all sizes and at all stages of development, from Warner Bros, PlayStation and HASBRO, through to start ups, my passion and enthusiasm for this industry goes unabated, especially when it comes to making the UK the best place in the world in which to develop and publish games.

I was fortunate to serve on the Ukie board for over seven years (2011-2018), a period of major transformation, not only for the association but the industry as a whole. It was a privilege to play an integral part in achieving record levels of membership, driving diversity and future proofing the association, alongside major policy changes including tax breaks, age rating regulations and computer science in the national curriculum, and others. I also participated on numerous Ukie subcommittees, which are the foundation of the success of the association.

Since leaving Warner Bros (September 2018), I have embarked on various ventures, one being the creation of my own start up development and publishing entity, Atomic Entertainment/Nineteeneleven Games.

This latest journey, if not adventure, has opened my eyes to life outside of the big corporations to the many opportunities that exist and the real day to day struggles of the smaller companies who really embody what the industry stands for. I want to help their voices be heard and I want to play an integral part in making this sector more creative, more diverse, more dynamic and, ultimately, the best industry to work in, here in the UK.

Teressa Wright, Producer, Square Enix Collective

I've been a huge admirer of Ukie for many years, and it would truly be an honour to participate in the much needed work that the organisation does.

While my entry to the games industry 13 years ago was entirely unplanned, I found my calling working here and have committed myself to helping us steer though some of the murkier waters that we as an industry have faced, like the lack of representation of people from more diverse backgrounds - a cause I've been very active and vocal about.

Having travelled extensively and seen the uphill battles faced in countries that lack the kind of support that Ukie provides us here in the UK, I strongly believe in the continued existence of these kinds of organisations, and believe it's imperative to lend my own voice and work to ensure the UK games industry is best represented on all levels.

We all know that the UK is currently going and will likely continue to go through a period of upheaval due to Brexit. At this time, the games industry needs excellent representation more than ever, and I see it as my duty to help in any way I can to reassure others and guide us through the quagmire.

It would be amazing to do this work as a board member of Ukie, but should that not be possible at this time there will be no hard feelings - I'm appreciative of just having this opportunity to nominate myself. Thanks for your time.

Thomas Hegarty, Co-CEO, Roll7

I am applying for the position of Ukie Board Member as I am passionate about the significant and positive role that the organisation plays in shaping the industry internally and promoting it externally. I also feel my extensive experience and skills are key to Ukie in continuing to drive these agendas forward.

I have been involved in the video games industry since 2005; initially via education programmes for disaffected young people, and latterly through running Roll7. I have seen first-hand the lasting and positive impact video games courses can have on young people in the formative stages of their lives; and in some cases supporting them to find work, re-enter education and perhaps most key, avoid falling into crime.

Through leading Roll7 and developing our own IP, I have also seen how video games can provide not only the most interesting and engaging forms of entertainment but also create incredibly emotive and life-changing experiences for players

I am immensely proud to be part of this life- and culture- changing industry and feel that now is the time to get more involved especially considering the current political climate; the way video games are being portrayed in the media and the huge way in which they are influencing the cultural landscape.

There are two areas that I am especially keen to champion and which are at the forefront of the agenda in current industry discussions and initiatives: Working Conditions and Staff Diversity.

Crunch was always a major issue and unfortunately, does not appear to be abating. Whilst there have been some positive approaches to tackling it, these seem piecemeal and dependent on individuals. The sad fact is that as a Director, I regularly interview candidates that cite crunch pressure, impossible overtime and the resulting burnout as key factors for leaving British studios. This is a talent drain the industry can’t afford.

However, it does not have to be this way! The problems are manifold and there is no silver bullet, but the example needs to be set by leadership, better planning, flexibility in deadlines and involving staff more into the planning process – exactly as we try to do at Roll7.  I also believe staff themselves can become more effective by ensuring their workday is as focused as possible and distractions are removed; and of course there is a fine balance to be struck to ensure work is still enjoyable.

At Roll7 we are deliberately redefining the way we work to set that example. We have banned crunch; we encourage a positive work-life balance and help staff plan their individual workloads to become more focused. We’re in the early stages but our recent five-month project has reaped dividends - and there was no crunch!

Regarding staff diversity. Great strides have been made, none more so than by Ukie and Bame In Games, which I – and Roll7 - have been involved with. However, at times it can still feel like a white, middle-aged, male-dominated industry. I myself am part of that demographic but at Roll7 we are making active efforts to diversify our workforce through tackling conscious and unconscious bias in the recruitment process; reviewing the equality of our retention processes, looking at accessibility issues and learning lessons from Bame In Games.

Gender bias is a key issue and so we’ve also actively engaged with female colleagues to understand how best to set the tone in our Job Descriptions and outward communications. This has already shown results through the increased number of women applying for roles.

If successful, as a Ukie Board Member I would use the opportunity to learn from the fantastic and diverse members already on board and use my extensive experience to push the two agendas above as well as promote the wider work that Ukie do on a continuous basis.

The role and responsibilities of the Board

The Board is responsible for being the guardian of members’ interests.

The main duties and tasks for the board are:

  • Appointing the Ukie CEO
  • Approving the annual report and accounts
  • Electing the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Honorary Treasurer
  • Recommending to the AGM an appropriate auditor to be appointed
  • Determining the criteria for membership
  • Maintaining control over internal systems and delegated authorities
  • Approving the annual operating plans and budget including subscription levels
  • Being responsible for the financial position of the association
  • Establishing of the market position of the association and possible restructuring arising from any review of the same
  • Being responsible for the governance arrangements of the association
  • Agreeing the strategy of the association
  • Setting the policy priorities of the association
  • Being responsible for the framework for managing risks

Election rules

  • Only fully paid up Ukie Full Members can be elected to the Ukie Board 
  • All paid-up Full and fee-paying Partners can vote for election to the Board (one company, one vote)
  • There is only one vote per member company. Only one candidate per member company can stand for election
  • There are 6 spaces to be filled this year. We strongly encourage you to exercise your voting power to vote for the 6 people you want to see fill those spaces 
  • Members cannot vote for individuals in their own company or Affiliate (studios owned by a member Publisher) company
  • Voting closes on Wednesday 28th August at 5pm.
  • Nominees with the most votes are duly elected to the board until the board reaches its stated capacity​ and results are announced at the AGM on Wednesday 4th September.