Lionhead01Microsoft have announced that John Needham will be the next studio head for Lionhead Studios.

This follows the departure of long time studio head and founder Peter Molyneux late last year.

Phil Harrison, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, feels that Needham will be able to utilise “wealth of proven executive leadership experience” as he oversees the day to day work of the company.

The previous experience mentioned by Harrison is primarily in the field of multiplayer; Needham has had a long history with online games. Prior to heading Lionhead, he was CEO of Cryptic Studios, the company behind multiple MMOs including City of Heroes, Star Trek Online and Champions Online. He was later CEO of Gazillion Entertainment, who created Marvel Heroes and Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.

Outside of CEO roles, Needham has worked at Sony Entertainment Online as both the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development and Operations. He has also been a board member of Quark Games and worked as part of Gamestop’s Digital Advisory Council.

Needham feels that his appointment as head of Lionhead is an honour, and has stated that the company’s vision of “building innovative gaming services and AAA game experiences” is something he “can’t wait to get started on.”