"As of September 24th, Robert Ohlen has been relieved from his duties as CEO of DreamHack.
All operations at DreamHack will continue as usual without any interruption.
A new CEO has been recruited internally and it will be communicated on Monday 27 October."
According to DailyDot, "The decision comes after an internal power-struggle that has seen key members of the board at odds with the public face of the company." DailyDot also reports that "The replacement is likely to be Markus Lindmark, a former event manager for the company..."
Ohlen had foreshadowed his departure from the company with the following tweet:
Robert Ohlen's response/interview: http://www.dailydot.com/esports/robert-ohlen-removed-dreamhack-interview/
" Robert Ohlén is one of the most recognizable businessmen in esports. Outspoken, gregarious and with an acute understanding of gaming culture, he was the charismatic face of one of esports true success stories: DreamHack.
In 2006, he took a gamble and purchased the gaming event from its two young founders. Under his stewardship, DreamHack continued to grow and break records year upon year. Its events have made it the biggest LAN in the world—records set to be smashed again when it hosts its 20th anniversary event next month. Ohlén, however, won’t be playing any part in those celebrations. After nearly a decade building the company, he's out, “relieved of his duties” on Oct. 24. The move represents a major power shift at the top of one of the most important and influential esports organizations in Europe—and on a more personal level, Ohlén's likely departure from the esports industry as a whole.
When we speak on Monday, he cuts a pretty dejected figure. It’s easy to see even across a pixelated Skype call that there are bags under his eyes. He's shaved off his trademark beard, but he looks older somehow. Ohlén and I have known each other for five years, and I've worked at DreamHack events as a coverage journalist. We've become firm friends. Which is part of why I was the only journalist he was willing to speak to.
We exchange some small talk. When a natural pause occurs, I put on my interviewer's voice and he sparks a cigarette. Then with a hoarse, strained voice he tells where all the drama started. It began in 2009, he says, when his then partner in the company David Garpenståhl, tried to "oust" him.
"That came out of the blue and I had to conclude he was, as you Brits might put it, a bit of a nutter." For what Ohlén calls "tactical, legal reasons," he gave away all his shares—50 percent of DreamHack—to his father. "I did this with the tacit understanding that the shares would be returned to me as soon as the difficulties subsided. Those troubles ended two years ago.”
Ohlén had weathered the storm, giving him his first harsh lesson about the business – “trust nobody.” Unfortunately, what he didn't realize was that this same lesson would soon extend to his immediate family.
About a year ago, Ohlén finally approached his father about those shares. “It didn’t seem too pressing and DreamHack was doing well," he said, so he'd felt no rush to handle the matter earlier.
“I asked my father to transfer back the shares I had given him and thanked him for the help," Ohlén says. "But he just flat out refused. Not once either.
"Each time I’d press the matter he had various, silly reasons as to why it wasn’t feasible to give me the shares. These ranged from excuses about timing, to how it would impact on finances, things that I knew weren’t true or made no sense. I sadly had to arrive at the conclusion that my dad was also a bit of a nutter and I had made a big mistake.”
That mistake wasn't going to be easy to fix. With no recourse to get back what he'd given away, Ohlén had only a few of options, all equally unpalatable. One was to try and fight, to browbeat his father into doing the right thing. The other was to wait it out, to continue working and see what materialized. Ohlén chose the latter. And it soon became clear that the situation was indeed resolving itself—except at Ohlén's expense.
Internally, he says, there were already discussions to push him out.
"I expected to have some allies, someone to have my back, but instead the staff seemed mostly to go along with my father. I have nothing against them for doing that. But it’s hard not to think of them as anything other than spineless worms.”