Team17 chief executive to step down

Team17 chief executive Debbie Bestwick

Debbie Bestwick is to step down as chief executive of Team17, the games developer that has been transformed under her leadership.

The focus now shifts to the next generation – Bestwick wants to “spend more time with my children” while handing over to her “fantastic senior team”.

Bestwick has been with the business since 1990, working up through sales and marketing roles before becoming joint chief executive in 2009 and taking sole charge a year later. She will stay on until a successor is appointed then continue as a non-executive director.

Bestwick said: “This has probably been the hardest decision I’ve made, but I wouldn’t have made it if I wasn’t confident in the succession plans and the leadership team’s ability to deliver the clear and focused strategy regarding our collective goals and ambitions.

“Ultimately, I want to spend more time with my children who have made sacrifices many times during my career and specifically to spend more time with my youngest before he goes to university.”

Bestwick has announced her departure five years after a year she described as “an inflection point for Team17”.

She added: “We enter 2023 confident in our growing back catalogue portfolio as well as our pipeline of new releases and updates, both of which provide a diverse and stable platform for growth.”

Revenues were up 52% to £137.4m, and adjusted pre-tax profits increased by 35% to £47.1m.

Team17 is based in Wakefield and Nottingham, and was formed by the merger of British publisher 17-Bit Software and Swedish developer Team 7. Bestwick led a management buyout in 2010 and then took the company public in 2018.

Although its share price has not maintained its soaring valuation through the lockdowns, where it reached above 800p, it has still doubled in value in the five years since its IPO and is now worth £600m.

Its success has come through its own games, including Worms, expansion through acquisitions, and its growth as a games publisher, acting as a label for indie games developers.

Team17’s non-executive chair Chris Bell added: “I would like to personally thank Debbie for her absolute devotion to Team17 and know that without her almost limitless enthusiasm for the business, we simply would not be where we are today.”