Elite Dangerous’ David Braben steps down as Frontier CEO into president role


David Braben, founder and CEO of Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier Developments, is going to be switching roles as he steps down as CEO and takes over as the studio’s president.

According to statements by FDev, Braben’s role as president will still see him in an “executive director position” where he’ll “retain his leadership and vision for Frontier’s strategic direction.” The company’s current chief creative officer Jonny Watts will take over as CEO, effective immediately.

“I am delighted to be able to pass on my CEO responsibilities [to Watts],” said Braben in a statement. “He has the perfect combination of creative leadership and gaming vision to build on the excellent momentum in the business. I am looking forward to my new role at Frontier, and this change enables me to focus on our longer-term strategic opportunities.”

Braben has been the guiding force of FDev for many years, having founded the studio in 1994. Watts, meanwhile, has been with FDev since 1998. Watts has been credited in the announcement with earning FDev an unaudited record revenue of £111 million ($135M USD) in fiscal year 2022, though readers will likely remember the studio’s 2021 fiscal report, which described reception to Elite Dangerous: Odyssey as “disappointing” and saw lowered revenue projections as a result.

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