Nasdaq-listed virtual racing game maker Motorsport Games has faced controversy ever since its IPO in 2021, and all efforts to recover have driven the company further into trouble. As Motorsport Games teeters on the brink of collapse, its board of directors decided to terminate current CEO Dmitry Kozko and appoint Stephen Hood in his place, effective today.
With his appointment as CEO and President, Stephen Hood returns to Motorsport Games, a company he left in January 2022 after serving as its President from April 2019. Before his initial stint at Motorsport Games, the 45-year-old Hood held the position of Head of Esports for Autosport Media UK, a brand owned by Motorsport Games’ parent, Motorsport Network. Outside the Motorsport Network portfolio, Hood worked in various video game production leadership roles at studios including Codemasters (F1), Dovetail Games (Train Simulator), Ideaworks Game Studio (Need for Speed, Call of Duty), and Lionhead Studios (Fable series).
The compensation plan within Hood’s employment agreement with Motorsport Games highlights the objective of his appointment: to turn the company around and boost its performance as a publicly-traded stock. Hood will receive an annual base salary of $245K, potentially increasing up to $500K based on Motorsport Games’ market capitalization on the Nasdaq. The market capitalization milestones outlined in Hood’s employment agreement are $50M, $100M, $200M, and $300M. Currently, the company’s market capitalization is approximately $20.7M.
The board of directors terminated Kozko’s CEO appointment without cause, meaning he will be entitled to a severance payment. Additionally, the board decided to retain Kozko as a director of the company, a role in which he will assist the board and management with fundraising.
For Motorsport Games, which reported a net loss of $36.8M in 2022, the change in leadership is a first step towards addressing its challenges in delivering racing games that satisfy both players and license holders. However, a new CEO can only have a limited impact on a company that is in such disarray; a radical restructure led by Stephen Hood will be necessary to turn the company around, silence critics, and produce exceptional racing games and esports events.