According to multiple sources, the mass resignations from Renegades on March 6 were due in large part to the behaviors of Renegades CEO Chris Roumayeh, including a perceived lack of leadership and alleged abuse directed towards some of those who resigned.
When NBA player Jonas Jerebko jointly purchased RNG in 2016 with his financial advisor Chris Roumayeh, it was Roumayeh that was actually to serve as the organization’s CEO and de-facto leader.
This morning, sources inside the organization questioned Roumayeh’s leadership of the organization and alleged that he was verbally and emotionally abusive to his employees. Several instances were detailed in which the CEO’s short temper seemingly derailed potential player signings and sponsorship deals.
Seven out of eight of Renegades employees who weren’t specifically affiliated with one of the organization’s pro teams resigned to protest the CEO’s behavior and mismanagement of the organization.
WIN.gg was informed by a source that Renegades only employs 8 people to run an organization that has rosters in seven games. Graphics, content, finance, public relations, and other typical roles that similar organizations may fill with two to three people are frequently expected to be handled by only one team member, sources claimed.
An interview with former Renegades AWPer Sean “Gratisfaction” Kaiwai lent credence to the sources’ claims. After being asked how 100 Thieves compares to Renegades, Gratisfaction gave an inside look into the Australian organization:
“I guess everyone on the team wanted to move, and we just weren’t happy with some of the things with Renegades. We knew we could get better offers. When we started to get better offers, we talked to management and just asked if we could leave. So they sold us,” said Gratisfaction.
The first public signs that something was amiss came on the morning of March 6. Six RNG employees said goodbye to the Renegades brand on Twitter. The tweets, posted within an hour of one another, seemed to have been a coordinated effort. All of the tweets also referenced Renegades’ Regional Director Albert Nguyen’s own resignation announcement.
While the five other tweets were short and focused on RNG’s brand, Nguyen’s included a Twitlonger that called out the “very top” of the RNG organization as the reason for why he and the others had chosen to resign.
“I can not and will not work for anyone who does not have a vision that I can align [with] and aspire to work with. Who does not take their people on a journey? You get the picture…,” Nguyen said.
Multiple sources confirmed that the environment and managerial style at Renegades has always been “old school” and “results-oriented.” Until recently, sources say, employees have had a buffer between Roumayeh and the rest of Renegades staff in the form of operations director Jeff Tyler. But Tyler left Renegades for a position with the Houston Outlaws in late January.
In his Twitlonger, Nguyen admonished Renegades’ leadership over perceived mismanagement.
“When a leader uses scapegoats and doesn’t accept faults, yells at his people for not bringing results, lies to players and staff, tries to divide staff against each other, says one thing and does another – the organization can not grow. When I talk [about] leadership, I mean at the very top,” Nguyen said.
Multiple sources confirmed to WIN.gg that Nguyen was referring to Roumayeh and Jerebko in the statement. They elaborated further on Nguyen’s Twitlonger, claiming Jerebko was guilty of disinterest rather than outright malice, but was nonetheless content to let Roumayeh run the team.
“It’s like talking to a brick wall at this point, to be honest. The thing is, I thought I’d be able to reach out to Jonas [Jerebko] and get him to kind of tell [Roumeyeh] what needs to be done, but Jonas doesn’t respond to me. He’ll respond to [Roumayeh], he’ll talk to [Roumayeh], but he won’t talk to anyone else,” one source said.
“If we have an issue with something, [Roumeyeh] will tell Jonas ‘It’s fine,’ and that’s it,” they continued.
As the day of March 6 went on, WIN.gg was provided claims that an employee was almost brought to tears by Roumeyeh’s outbursts on several occasions. The CEO had allegedly threatened the employee’s job and paycheck despite them often working more than 60 hours in a given week.
That was just the first of several stories that alleged manipulation, emotional pressure, and public scoldings from the Renegades CEO towards his employees.
One source said that Nguyen distributed a company-wide survey to assess the level of trust employees had in the Renegades brand and its leadership in order to rectify the situation. The source then provided WIN.gg a copy of the internal survey results. The results showed a marked lack of trust between the organization and its employees.
The results revealed that nearly half of the company’s employees already planned to leave RNG within the year.
WIN.gg’s conversations with those close to the organization also produced claims that Roumayeh prioritized saving money and monetizing content over building the foundations of the Renegades brand. Another source with knowledge of the situation told WIN.gg that RNG videographers were sometimes denied team travel due to the extra cost associated, and then were chastised by Roumeyeh for the resulting lack of content.
Sources also claim that payments to talent, employees, and players are typically delayed 5-10 days due to the organization’s use of PayPal to pay its staff and players. While PayPal can process a check deposit in minutes for a small fee, its website says that it can take up to 10 days if the user is unwilling to pay those fees.
Renegades currently has four main investors: Jonas Jerebko, Chris Roumayeh, Beasley Media, and an unannounced fourth investment group. A source close to the team told WIN.gg that the March partnership between Renegades and Beasley Media could result in an influx of “millions” of dollars for the organization.
US Securities and Exchange Commission filings confirm that Beasley has indeed invested several million into the Renegades organization over the past year. The 2019 end of year SEC documents published in February 2020 show that Beasley has invested a grand total of $5.7 million into the Renegades organization.
With these investments, Beasley had acquired a 47% stake in Renegades as of December 19. It then detailed plans to acquire the final shares needed to complete a controlling interest in the Australian esports organization by the end of Q1 2020.
Beasley also paid an unknown party a $2.5 million franchise fee. If related to the expected acquisition of Renegades, Beasley will already have invested at least $8.7 million in the Renegades organization to date.