Finance: GW’s Chairman Steps Down

Tom Kirby, is stepping down as Games Workshop’s non-executive chairman. Here’s the details.

via GW Investor relations

“Games Workshop Group PLC (“Games Workshop” or the “Company”) today announces that Tom Kirby has advised the board of his intention to retire as a director of the Company with effect from the conclusion of the Company’s Annual General Meeting on 13 September 2017. He will not seek re-election as a director of Games Workshop thereafter. In the interests of continuing the smooth transfer of power and responsibility to the new executive board team, following the AGM, Tom will be appointed a consultant to the Company for a period of 12 months.

Nick Donaldson will become non-executive chairman of Games Workshop on Tom Kirby’s retirement. Nick has been a non-executive director of Games Workshop since April 2002.

As non-executive chairman one of Nick’s key responsibilities will be to lead a review of the composition of the Company’s board and to set in motion a process to appoint new non-executive directors of the Company.”

Note that this announcement came ONE DAY after the phenomenal 2016-2017 annual report from GW. Kirby has been at the helm of GW for decades and this move heralds a true turning of the page for the company.

~I’ll let you all talk out what you think is going on.

  • Strategery.

    cmon sell 40k IP to sega


    • SilentPony

      Sega? Man shoot for Atari!

      • Crevab

        What? Hell no

      • CloakingDonkey

        If you want Chaos, nothing short of Konami will do. Admit it. You want those Space Marine Pachinko machines. 😛

    • wibbling

      Surely Cool Mini or Not should be capitalised?

  • SilentPony

    Huh…the Company(GW, not Weyland-Yutani) has like doubled everything in 12 months. Why step down now? What does he know that we don’t?
    Was 8th a secret failure? Some hidden budget wasn’t recouped? Stores are closing as the fanbase becomes more concentrated? Subject-X escaped the Nevada testing labs and Marvel didn’t make a movie about it?

    • pompeyladBFP

      because he was against everything that has happened over the last few years.. Hoping it would backfire. It didnt, he has been publicly shamed. Time to go.. He has made personally millions out of us so its not like he has any reason to stay

    • Zadgrub

      Kirby was the idiot non-gamer who used to be CEO until about 2 years ago, when he stepped down. He was the one who infamously made the comment about GW being a model company, not a rules company. Kevin Roundtree, the current CEO & former CFO took his place, and it’s been under Roundtree (who is himself a gamer) that GW has turned around it’s image and profitability in the past 2 years. Kirby has been holding an advisory role since he stepped down, and from all reports, has barely been active in that role. He was a horrible CEO, and has probably been a pretty worthless advisor, so his stepping away completely now is pretty much a non-issue, and way past time.

      • AircoolUK

        You nailed it in one mate. We (generalisation) wanted GW to be a games company again, and that’s what he’s done.

      • NagaBaboon

        Yeah perfectly put, Kirby just did not understand or belong anywhere near a company like GW

      • orionburn

        Ah…he’s the one that said that? I remember that comment (model vs game company) but didn’t know who it was that said that.

        All I know is that GW has been on a good run (yes, despite some fumbles here and there) and hope to see that continue.

      • Xodis

        FOR THE ROUNDTREE!!!!!

      • Mauler


      • Brettila

        Well said.

      • The amount of upvotes proves how true that is. You won the internet, sir.

      • Jabberwokk

        Top notch, sir.

    • Stealthbadger

      They’ve finally run out of the 10,000 GW fanboys needed to be sacrificed each day to power his golden throne.

      FYI I am one of those fanboys so really I approve of this change. Now I have to go and give the new guy my PIN number, bye bye.

      • ZeeLobby


    • Munn

      Or he can jump ship after a great fiscal year and take credit for the success while retiring into a pile of money.

      • ZeeLobby

        This. Definitely this.

    • Renegade Paladin

      Because he bought a huge share in GW back when he tanked the stock, and now that it’s turned around he gets to leave and sell it to make millions without doing any work. 😛

  • Ironhalo

    I heard it through a reliable source that Kirby continued to be a malignant presence in the board room, to the point where meetings that involved significant changes to direction were being scheduled to coincide with periods where Kirby was absent.

    GW’s excellent profit outcome will have been vindication for Rountree, and undoubtedly a public shaming and testament to Kirby’s complete mishandling and misdirection of the company as a whole. He completely underestimated his customers and when the profits started dropping, he double-downed and ensured that the company/customer relationship went from toxic to one of downright hostility.

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, and good riddance.

    • BaronVonYoloing

      Lol! Glad I’m not the only person who has heard this. It sounds ridiculous like what I would expect off a bad school based sitcom but yet it happens apparently.

    • Loki Nahat

      bolter and chainsword isn’t a reliable source

      • Ironhalo

        Would you take an Australian store manager?

        • TenDM

          Are you sure they aren’t just repeating what they’ve heard online? You’d be surprised how often the ‘inside info’ is just the manager’s thoughts on the matter. Store managers don’t get kept in the loop on much, especially about not the dirty laundry from their higher up board meetings.
          As soon as the info hits the store managers it tends to get leaked, so GW keep very tight lips around them. I can’t really see how this sort of gossip would get from HQ all the way to an Australian manager.

          I mean the guy clearly sucks and I’m not saying you’re lying, but I’d consider this a rumour until someone closer to the situation confirms it.

          • CloakingDonkey

            I used to work in a GW store. You do hear a lot more about the company than outsiders do. It’s still rumours but it’s a different quality grade of rumour 😉 The spicy info usually comes from the regional managers who drop by every few months and spend the day lounging about, gossiping.

          • BaronVonYoloing

            Not all the time. Then again I live about an hour’s drive from GW HQ. You would also be surprised how loudly some of the staff talk when they’re working/lunching at Bugmans in Nottingham.

        • ZeeLobby

          Not sure they ever get that info. Regardless it’s also a great sales tactic. Point to a single individual for all the companies woes and celebrate their departure to your customers. Not saying it isn’t true, but there were (and still may be) issues at GW outside of Kirby.

          • CloakingDonkey

            Sure. A CEO isn’t a king. they just carry all the responsibility. That means there’s at least a board room full of Yes-men who helped all of Kirby’s crap ideas get through…

          • ZeeLobby

            Well, and managment who carried them out. And probably advisers who pointed him in that direction. I mean whether it was his doing or not, that era of GW definitely saw them shift from a company built around gaming culture, to a company built around corporate culture. There is not clear evidence of this, but I feel like the whole Primaris fiasco is a prime example of corporate sales team hand-wringing rather than actual love of the game.

          • No-one Special

            GW has an atrocious record of badly treating staff who are seen to be ‘problems’ for disagreeing or not doing as they were told. Believe me, if you weren’t toeing the line you wouldn’t get very far and probably wouldn’t be employed by them very long – either by choice or not. There are a great many people who have risen to status simply through outlasting those tired of the way they are treated. This does not make them good at their jobs.
            Kirby was an accountant. When the numbers started to dip, he did what all accountants do – focus on the profit. He cut out anything that could not be measured as having a significant profit attached to it. Mail Order, Specialist games, Tournament support, anything that GW killed in the last 15 years really. Almost sole focus on 40k as it was the most popular to the exclusion of all else. That is how someone entirely preoccupied with numbers thinks, they can’t comprehend the intangible benefits community engagement brings, which is why he was so against it. A true retail dinosaur.

          • No-one Special

            Board members generally only know what they are told by the people who are responsible for the day to day running of the buisness – or at least what the ones presenting that information allow them to know. If this was Tom Kirby (it was) then he would have been more than capable of showing things in a certain light to back up his claims and excuses. Obviously this gets harder the longer things go on as you end up having to commit to improving things one way or another, and then when those suposed solutions don’t work you can only blame someone/thing else so many times.

        • GnomesForge

          Why would managers have a big share of top info? They run stores, there’s no reason to tell a store manager about the dynamics present in a board meeting.

          • Moonsaves

            The managers occasionally get called to Nottingham, have exposure to regional managers etc. I shop at ASDA but my girlfriend who works there could probably tell me more about internal ASDA politics.

  • Foxdonut

    Aka “i bet my career that the next guy cant be better than me at whatever it is this company does”

    • ZeeLobby

      More like “I bought more stock while driving the company down, now that any management can do better it’s time to retire”. Probably a combo of both.

  • Krizzab

    ha ha! (pointing finger nelson style.)

  • Krizzab

    Ha HA! (nelson )

    • benvoliothefirst

      Um, actually… I think you’ll find it’s spelled “HA ha!” (Emphasis on the first syllable.) But I agree with the sentiment!

  • Schnauzer

    But who will the haters hate now?

    • Loki Nahat

      probably still Kirby, because he’s the owner

    • orionburn

      There will always me Matt Ward…lol

      • ZeeLobby

        WARD!!!! *shakes fist at sky*

        • orionburn
          • ZeeLobby

            Haha. To be fair I don’t think you have to be a hater to hate ward. He’s single-handedly created more fluff cringes than all other writers combined.

          • Seienchin

            I would agree but he had fans in the warhammer fantasy community liking his ideas…

          • ZeeLobby

            True. Without some stats it’s all just guesswork. The fact that since the GK codex I have yet to meet someone whose a fan (probably discussed with 200+ people since then) in person, makes me feel like it’s gotta be a minority. I could be wrong though. The fact that he may be at the helm of all the recent fluff is enough to make me cringe without even reading it, and once read seems even more obvious.

          • CloakingDonkey

            I’m not up to date on the fluff… what is so bad about the Grey Knight codex? Is it the weaponized power loaders?

          • BaronVonYoloing

            Depends on who you ask. Some people didn’t like the percieved power of it.

            Others like me didn’t like much of the fluff behind it. Examples to me include suddenly being OK with Daemon weapons (Like Crowe and Draigo’s sword. It was originally a Bloodthirster apparently), not being pure enough so they have to wear Sisters of Battle like paint over their armour, whilst fighting Khorne Daemons as well as Kaldor “I f**k everything to death without any issues” Draigo.

            It’s a bit of a mess.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, pretty much all of this, lol. And then you read the current fluff and you’re like, yup, I see him in there!

          • GnomesForge

            Cawl. Primaris.

      • Xodis

        WARD!!!…a heretic if there ever was one.

      • Chet Atkinson

        I thought he was back at GW now

        • orionburn

          He is. Whether there or not people will still hate him with the passion of a million burnin suns…lol

    • Spacefrisian

      What could be the next random hate subject….Could be the title of the next bols article.

      • orionburn

        With 14 follow-up articles.

    • Foxdonut

      Hate needs no target.

  • Loki Nahat

    but, he’s still the largest owner @ 33% of the company

    • Grasshopper


    • Which is actually a good thing. Even if he wanted to, he won’t rock the boat because GW is having resurgence and therefore his stake in the company is worth more. Lord, that guy was boil that desperately needed to lanced. Just look at how well GW is doing now, communicating with the fans, actually utilising social media effectively etc brighter days ahead.

  • Rowan Drake

    Ding-dong, the witch is dead.

  • Good bye, good luck, good riddance.

  • min
    • orionburn

      Don’t make him walk nekkid down the street. Cersei is a nutter but at least she’s kinda hot…lol

      • sonny2dap .

        Sorry man blood relations only.

        • CloakingDonkey

          Habsburger style

  • ZeeLobby

    Lol. “Made a buttload of cash, time to retire”

    Part of me really has to wonder if he increased stock options the years he was dragging GW down knowing that he could boost their value by stepping down and letting pretty much anyone else make decisions in the future.

    • Jack Biddo

      I guess there is a chance he could be some kind of evil genius but with most humans i feel like arrogance and incompetence mixed with a little luck are a safer bet

      • ZeeLobby

        Well. The wealthy have the advantage of being able to hire people who can keep them wealthy. I mean your likely right, but it’s not like shady business practices haven’t ever originated from the top.

  • sonny2dap .

    Ouch, don’t get me wrong he’s still profiting enormously from this, but still to step down and the new executives step in and immediately improve the companies performance in such leaps and bounds is a big slap in the face and the ultimate f*** you to his business decisions. this final step down is essentially a mea culpa.

  • Sharkey Tyberos

    GW were just so willfully stupid and pigheaded under Kirby. How he had such a misunderstanding of his business and customers I will never get.

    Hopefully GW learn from their mistakes long term. Simple fact is if you compare GW when he was first replaced by Rountree in 2015 to now there is a big difference.

  • benn grimm

    Good riddance.

  • Commissar Molotov

    Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lawd split ya, ya jerk.

  • Xodis

    If this guy WAS the cause of a lot of GW problems, good riddance.

  • CloakingDonkey

    If that means more of the current GW, then good riddance!

  • Callum Rae

    Wooohooo death to the false CEO!

  • Richard Mitchell

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Kirby bought stock when it was low. But I do think he stepped down because he was not a good fit for the company. This happens and usually isn’t anything devious. I worked for a company that had that happen. CEO was a bad fit, leadership, direction, and policy was detrimental to the company. But I have phoned in on a couple of board meetings, and the CEO maybe the captain but it’s the majority shareholders who own the ship. And if they saw his presence as a bad fit, I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave a strong suggestion that he should retire.

  • silashand

    Good riddance and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I’m convinced he intentionally tried to drive the company into the ground in order to line his own pockets with dividends until it was too late.

  • Talos2

    Everything we know about gw is that everything happens about 3years in advance, anything you see released today was started at least 3 years ago. I’m not sure he’s quite the villain he’s made out to be. I met him once at a gamesday, actually in line waiting to buy a model from fw. Buying with his own money as he was collecting them. So the claims he’s not a gamer may be true, but that isn’t the hobby for everyone.

  • Jabberwokk

    Ding Dong! The witch is dead.

  • Nuno Castilho

    Good riddance…

  • Sleeplessknight

    Dear Mr. Kirby. Thanks for being the driving force behind making the hobby suck all these years. Good riddance and please don’t come back. Thanks, no thanks.

  • thereturnofsuppuppers

    I wonder if he will go to work for mantic

  • Cergorach

    Let’s party like it’s 1987! Kirby has left the Building!

  • blackbloodshaman

    Ding dong the witch is dead