Yggdrasil exodus continues as Smolarek exits as CTO

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Smolarek only took on the CTO role at Yggdrasil in January last year. However, writing on his LinkedIn page, he revealed that he has now left the provider.

An experienced professional, Smolarek worked as director of engineering at Crimson Pine Games before joining Yggdrasil. He also had a short spell as head of internal tools at Ten Square Games.

Earlier in his career, Smolarek worked across several roles at Huuuge Games, including R&D director of business applications. In addition, prior to joining the gambling industry, he spent time with itCraft in his native Poland.

“After a challenging and amazing time in Yggdrasil, it’s time for me to go on a new mission,” Smolarek said. “I’m looking for senior managerial roles in software engineering, I’m available very soon and open to travel.”

Smolarek follows McGinley out of Yggdrasil

Confirmation of Smolarek’s departure comes just weeks after Yggdrasil lost another senior member of its team.

Last month, Mark McGinley left his role as chief product officer at Yggdrasil after just six months. He also had a short spell as chief gaming officer at the provider.

Another experienced industry professional, McGinley previously worked as CEO of FunFair Games and director game studios at Entain. He was also programme director at RNG Foundry and spent time as game studio lead at Casumo.

“After much reflection on my career goals and recent changes within the executive team, I am bidding farewell to my colleagues at Yggdrasil,” McGinley wrote on LinkedIn last month.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked alongside such talented individuals and cherish the memories we have created together. I want to express my deepest gratitude for the support, camaraderie and friendship shown to me during my time at Yggdrasil.”

 Neither Smolarek nor McGinley disclosed the full reasons for their departures. 

Curwen takes the wheel

The double departure comes in the wake of James Curwen taking over as CEO at Yggdrasil. Curwen was appointed to the role in August last year, officially assuming responsibilities in October and replacing Bjorn Krantz.

Curwen was previously chief online officer at OPAP. He also worked as CEO of Golden Rock Studios and had a spell as chief gaming officer at Superbet.

He also worked at William Hill for almost six years serving in senior positions such as chief gaming product officer. In addition, he had spells with both RandomGamesLimited UK and Ladbrokes. 

His appointment came on the back of Yggdrasil announcing a new-look business structure. In June last year, the provider revealed plans to consolidate its Product and Programmes and Studio verticals into a single unit. This now operates under the Gaming banner.

At the time, Yggdrasil said this will help increase transparency, streamline processes and offer operational benefits. This, it added, could lead to improved product roadmap quality and development process assurance, more agile content delivery, increased cross-company knowledge sharing and a focus on player and operator needs.

Incidentally, the restructure saw the now-departed McGinley take over as chief gaming officer.

Yggdrasil slapped with Swedish penalty

Other recent developments at Yggdrasil include the provider being handed a SEK300,000 (£22,062/€25,670/$27,783) penalty fee by Sweden’s gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen.

It is understood that Yggdrasil supplied content to an unlicensed website operating in the Swedish market. Yggdrasil said that the contravention had come about due to a breach in contract between itself and a retailer. It added that it had corrected the issue.

The regulator acknowledged that Yggdrasil complied with its order but added that this is expected of all licensees. As such, it issued the penalty fee and handed a warning to the provider.

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