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Report: Former ESA president Gallagher left after losing board faith

Report: Former ESA president Gallagher left after losing board faith

The ex-head of American games trade body The ESA Mike Gallagher departed the organisation after its board lost faith in him.

That's according to a new report from Variety, which says that Gallagher not only pitted employees against each other but also said that if staff weren't burnt out within three years they hadn't been worked hard enough.

Ultimately, this resulted in Gallagher losing the faith of the ESA's board prior to the October 2018 announcement of his departure. Before this, during the summer, ZeniMax CEO and ESA chair Robert Altman and Xbox boss and ESA vice chair Phil Spencer, visited the trade body's Washington DC headquarters to speak to employees.

“Everyone was on pins and needles for the summer,” one employee told Variety.

“Something had to change. Several people were saying that if he didn’t get the ax, they would be going to the press.”

Another added that there was gratitude at The ESA once Gallagher was outed.

“Everyone is thankful that the board made what was no doubt a difficult decision,” they said.

“They did do the right thing, the hard thing, when they could have just let him ride out his contract.”

The future of E3 is also in question, too, following PlayStation saying it would not be attending the LA trade show, with Gamer Network owner ReedPop being named as pitching for the contract. The company declined to comment.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.