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Dr Jo Twist OBE to step down as Ukie CEO

Sam Collins and Dan Wood to manage the transition process

Ukie, the trade body representing the UK’s video games and interactive entertainment industry, has announced that Dr Jo Twist OBE will step down as CEO this summer to become the BPI’s CEO. Long-standing members of the senior management team, Sam Collins and Dan Wood, will jointly manage the organisation while a permanent replacement is identified.

In her 11 years as CEO of Ukie, Twist has presided over a period of immense growth for the UK interactive entertainment industry. In her time, Ukie has faced many challenges whilst seizing multiple opportunities to help make the games industry the jewel in the crown of the UK's creative and technology industries. Her principled, almost militant flag-waving of video games as a force for good has been a major factor in the sector’s rise to prominence over the last 10 years.

Twist’s legacy is a robust, resilient, future-facing and influential trade body, built on the firmest of foundations, enabling Ukie to develop over the next decade as the industry matures further and grows in stature and influence.

“Jo will be a hard act to replace and follow but this is an exciting juncture for Ukie and the industry. We obviously need to take time to find the right person to lead Ukie into the next stage of its journey. Thankfully we are afforded the time to do this due to the high calibre of the Ukie Senior Management Team and the entirety of the Ukie staff which Jo has galvanised,” commented Tim Woodley, Chair of Ukie.

Twist commented "I have enjoyed an incredible journey as CEO of Ukie, ensuring we are a future facing, inclusive trade association, which fully reflects and represents the amazingly innovative and creative sector we advocate on behalf of. I want to thank the Ukie Board members past and present with whom I have had the great pleasure of working, but without a doubt, the Ukie team past and present deserve all the thanks for being a brilliant, creative, dedicated group of people who will continue to thrive under new leadership. It's been a decade of change and of phenomenal growth for the UK's games sector, and I can't wait to see what the next decade brings."

Sam Collins is promoted from Head of Commercial and Membership to Chief Commercial Officer with immediate effect.  Sam has led the expansion of member companies at the trade body from 39 to over 600. He introduced, and then supercharged, the International Trade Programme that has supported over 250 UK games businesses a year with expansion into overseas markets. Achieved via trade missions, market familiarisation events and UK pavilions at China Joy, gamescom and GDC, the trade programme delivers export wins in excess of £100m every year for small and expanding UK games businesses.

Dan Wood, currently Strategic Project Lead, has held various roles at Ukie over a similar timeframe, from Head of Communications and Public Affairs to Chief Operating Officer and will be resuming a C-Level role for the trade body.

Wood has led the work on many significant projects and big issues faced by the industry over this time, including the successful original bid to the GLA to create the London Games Festival, leading Ukie’s work around the introduction of the video games tax relief, authoring Ukie’s Esports White Paper, designing the industry-wide ‘RaiseTheGame’ Diversity Pledge, co-writing the first-of-its-kind Green Games Guide and building and running the Games Scale Up and Mobile Games Growth programmes.”

The process to find a worthy replacement has already begun. Ukie is seeking a strategic and inspirational leader with the passion and diplomacy to build on the foundations laid by Twist and expand the vision, ambition and might of Ukie as it looks ahead to the challenges and opportunities that will face the games and interactive entertainment industry in the coming decade.