Firefall developer Red 5 seems to be going through a major transition, with co-founder Mark Kern no longer in the chief executive role.
"As of Thursday, December 19, Mark Kern is no longer the Chief Executive Officer of Red 5 Studios," producer Matt DeWald said in a statement provided to GameFront.
"Red 5 Vice President of Development, James Macauley, will be moving into the role of acting CEO. The team at Red 5 continues work on Firefall and looks forward to all that we have to offer in 2014."
There's no word on whether Kern will remain with the company in a new role, or whether he has departed entirely.
According to an alleged internal email from Macauley published in full by Gamefront, Red 5's board of directors "met and after deliberation have decided that Mark Kern will no longer be the Chief Executive Officer or on the Board of Red 5 Studios".
"Effective immediately Mark will no longer have any authority to act for or on behalf of Red 5 Studios," Macauley said. “This is a major change to our company. Your managers and I will set to work to cover any and all areas that Mark was directly handling and we are continuing to solidify the plan for 2014."
The remainder of the email reassures staff of business as usual and open communication, and ends with a request not to discuss the matter outside the company.
Kern's removal from the role comes as something of a surprise, as the Blizzard veteran was one of four co-founders of the developer, and the only one remaining. He had been CEO since 2009. Chinese publisher The9 acquired a majority stake in Red 5 Studios in 2010 and presumably has representatives on its board of directors.