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NRG appoints new CEO, former head of Apple iAd publisher relations

NRG Esports CEO Andrew Pruett. Courtesy of NRG Esports

The League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive organization NRG eSports named Andrew Pruett as its new CEO today. Pruett is the former global head of publisher relations and business development for Apple, Inc.'s mobile advertising division and will be taking on his new role at NRG full-time to manage the organization.

Prior to his time at Apple, Pruett worked with companies such as Quattro Wireless (which was founded and owned by NRG co-owner Andy Miller), Disney Interactive Media Group, Artists Management Group, and Sonic Driven-In, with a focus on advertising, sales, and business development.

"I am honored to join and work alongside the best in class business leadership--spanning traditional sports, marketing, media, technology, entrepreneurship and esports athletes," Pruett told ESPN about his new position. "It's beyond exciting to be at the forefront of this phenomenal tidal wave of a new generation of sports enthusiasts! There's a lot to do and I'm ready to hit the ground running to build a leading brand and winning culture at NRG."

With Pruett stepping into his new role, former CEO Gerard Kelly will move to a general management role in the organization. Kelly is also one of the co-founders of the company, having previously worked with Team Imagine prior to joining NRG.

But the star power behind NRG comes from its founders and investors.

Its original two founders and co-owners are former Apple iAd chief Andy Miller and 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov. Both are minority shareholders in the NBA team, Sacramento Kings.

Additionally, the team recently received a group investment from sports stars Shaquille O'Neil, Alex Rodriguez, and Jimmy Rollins.

"Andrew has an impressive track record at world-class companies like Apple and Disney," Miller told ESPN. "[He] will further help develop the NRG brand and bring his creativity to working with our partners to fully leverage the massive potential of esports."

NRG currently has two esports teams--one in League of Legends and another in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Its League of Legends team took fifth/sixth place in the North America League Championship Series after falling short to Team SoloMid. Its Counter-Strike squad is currently ranked fifth in the ESL Pro League North American leg.

NRG is a part of the new wave of money coming into esports in the last year. For example, former NBA star Rick Fox founded a team of his own in the LCS and quickly expanded into CS:GO, while alternative rock band Linkin Park invested with a venture capitalist firm in Immortals.