XSET Chief Experience Officer and Co-Owner Rob Martin announced on Monday that he is leaving the Los Angeles-based esports and gaming lifestyle company. Martin joined XSET in February of last year along with Lonnie Anthony, who took on the role of chief innovation officer. Both Martin and Anthony are co-founders of Beverly Hills-based talent and marketing agency Astoic Management, which was acquired last year by XSET.
During his time at XSET, Martin brought his expertise from running Beverly Hills-based talent and marketing agency Astoic Management for more than eight years to the company, working with founders, esports talent, and influencers to create activations, apparel lines, events, and more.
In August of 2022, XSET acquired Astoic Management for an undisclosed amount, and named both co-founders as new co-owners of the company. Founded in 2013 by Anthony and Martin, the agency works with artists, athletes, influencers, and celebrities to connect them with major brands. Astoic has worked with some of the biggest stars in the world including Floyd Mayweather, Offset (Migos), Travis Scott, Ronnie2K, Dez Bryant, Ezekiel Elliot, Cassy Athena, and many others. The agency also brokered a number of major deals with companies including NBA2K, Microsoft’s defunct streaming platform Caffeine, Facebook, Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Astroworld Festival, AT&T, Microsoft, FOX, Viacom, Postmates, MLB, Twitch, and many others.
Martin’s exit from XSET appears to be amicable and for personal reasons; in a lengthy social media post he thanked the founders/co-owners and his long-time friend Anthony for helping to create an organization that cares about diversity: “Together the amazing team of Greg Selkoe, Wil Eddins, Clinton Sparks, Steve Birkhold, Erin Ashley Simon, my best friend Lonnie Anthony, and I developed XSET into the world’s most diverse gaming org,” Martin wrote. “I appreciate these wonderful humans for trusting me to build this game changing company alongside them. I also thank them for understanding my reasons for stepping away.”
In a statement sent to The Esports Advocate on Tuesday, Martin explained why he is no longer with XSET:
“I was dealing with family health issues that were affecting my ability to focus on the work that we were doing,” Martin told TEA in an emailed statment. “I didn’t want to be a distraction or a roadblock with all of the amazing initiatives we had in the works. My main focus was to spend time with my family and be present for them knowing ultimately you can’t get that time back. The core values of my colleagues is the same reason I came to XSET. They were very understanding of my situation.”
XSET CEO Greg Selkoe also issued a brief statement on Tuesday concerning Martin’s exit:
“We wish Rob well, and he will always be a part of the XSET fam,” Selko said in a statement sent to TEA Tuesday afternoon. “We are very excited about 2023 and we’ll be announcing some new hires, exciting new initiatives, and new teams, so stay tuned!”
Martin joins a number of other former XSET employees who left the company in the fourth quarter including former XSET Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Marco Mereu, former Head of Social Nate Schanker, and former Design Director Zachary Azzara. Mereu, Azzara, and Schanker started a brand new esports organization in December called M80 and announced the company’s intention to compete in Valorant Challengers. M80 also announced in December that it acquired XSET’s former Rainbow Six: Siege roster and that it would compete Six Invitational in Montreal next month.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with comments from Greg Selkoe and Rob Martin.