Jim Butler Named Paizo President

Monday, May 16, 2022

Jeff Alvarez has stepped down as president due to health reasons. Paizo has named Vice President of Marketing and Licensing, Jim Butler, as its new president.

Jim Butler with a grey plush dragon on his shoulder

“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Jim from his days at TSR through his time working on Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition at Wizards of the Coast, and now working with me at Paizo,” Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens said. Jim is a hardworking visionary whose almost three decades of game experience makes him the perfect person to guide Paizo into its third decade.”

“I’m grateful for the trust that Lisa and the Leadership Team have placed in me to lead Paizo,” Jim Butler said. “I look forward to working with my fellow employees to lead the company into the next era of tabletop excellence.”

Jim brings decades of gaming experience to his new role, including serving as Paizo’s vice president of marketing and licensing over the last five years. Before Paizo, he has worked at TSR, Wizards of the Coast, Warner Bros./Turbine, and Trion Worlds.

“I started my gaming career as an editor and game designer, switching over to marketing and brand management when Peter Adkison wanted ‘gamers with business degrees’ running Dungeons & Dragons,” Jim said. “It’s been an epic adventure so far, and I’m excited that a new chapter has begun.”

Jim lives in Redmond, WA with his husband, Matthew, and their fur-kids: Toker, Stella, and Skylar. He’s currently playing through volume 5 of the Pathfinder Return of the Runelords Adventure Path as a kobold druid and GMing the Extinction Curse Adventure Path for Pathfinder Second Edition.

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Customer Service Representative

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Removed some inappropriate posts.


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Congrats Jim! Glad to have had you introduce me to the world of TTRPGs with the Bastion campaigns back in the day!

Grand Lodge

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Congratulations to Jim on the promotion!

I hope that Jeff's health improves and his quality of life is not diminished in any way. One's health is really important for living the life one wants to live. It really sucks to see one's life totally upended because of an often unavoidable health issue.

Liberty's Edge

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It was Jeff who doxxxed the customer, right? I saw he's moving into a consulting role. I am sad to hear that.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is the position that didn't exist until Jim was on boarded going to continue to exist or will it be closed now that there isn't a need for a 'hire a friend' spot?


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NightTrace wrote:
Is the position that didn't exist until Jim was on boarded going to continue to exist or will it be closed now that there isn't a need for a 'hire a friend' spot?

In retrospect, it might have been more a "hire a potential candidate for President" while you a) get him up to speed on the company and b) evaluate him to make sure you want to give him the job.

Paizo Employee Director of Community

Removed some posts as personally harassing and inappropriate.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
NightTrace wrote:
Is the position that didn't exist until Jim was on boarded going to continue to exist or will it be closed now that there isn't a need for a 'hire a friend' spot?
In retrospect, it might have been more a "hire a potential candidate for President" while you a) get him up to speed on the company and b) evaluate him to make sure you want to give him the job.

That's possible. I admit to pessimism here.

Liberty's Edge

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Congratulations, Jim!!! Good luck.

I wish Jeff a speedy recovery.

As for myself, I hope that Jim will have a future blog on the direction for Paizo in the future that will address a wide array of issues.

If there has been some heat here, I think it is because we care about Paizo and the people who work there. Many of us have given dozens, hundreds, or thousands of hours to gaming. No wonder that so much that goes on here provokes deep feelings. My approach is to respect that and hope that we can have good, meaningful discussions in the future.

Can we see some support for Tien Xia and Arcadia, as well as more on Garund. I am very impressed by Lost Omens: The Mwangi Expanse and hope that it will serve as a template in exploring future regions of Golarion.

Liberty's Edge

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Health issues...

Staying as a consultant...

Old friend of the CEO...

Right now I don't feel overly optimistic for the company to really change its ways TBT.

Good luck to you, Jim, and to all those working hard to keep Paizo on tracks.

Know that we love your products.


The Raven Black wrote:


Right now I don't feel overly optimistic for the company to really change its ways TBT.

Neither do I.

The company is still erasing any criticism of their sacred cows.

GM the GM


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This uncannily reminds me of Ryan Dancey leaving his leadership position at Goblinworks (Paizo's spinoff company making Pathfinder Online MMO) for "personal reasons" being announced as a one-sentence passage in a blog post.

Liberty's Edge

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One would have thought last year's debacle and its aftershocks would have taught the value of open and sincere communication with the community.

Really good luck, Jim, you will need it IMO.

The Concordance

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"It is good to see someone who understands the needs of the small and nature ascend to heights of power, and makes dragons ride on his shoulder! HUZZZAHHHH!!!

Liberty's Edge

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Yoshua wrote:

Response is to Sunderstone. Forgot that I try not to quote when possible.

There is a lot of or's.

Personally I think keeping accountability visible is where it is at and appreciate that they asked the question as respectfully as one could hope. Got an answer that was less than ideal and vocalized that as well.

As for your back and forth. I could go into the long list as to why it is essential for visibility if accountability is to take place, and why the person in question has until this date never publicly been held accountable and even in this they are still stepping down in what seems to be a voluntary action publicly regardless of what took place behind closed doors.

So, no thanks. I appreciate what Keftiu did here, and had they not beaten me to it I would have done the same. I appreciate that they did it with far more class and tact than I am typically capable of.

Editted to Add:
It also appears that those who claim to have a desire to keep a thread on topic can't help themselves but derail it at every chance instead of, you know, not doing that.

In addition to this, the fundamental problem does not lie in one person's actions. The problem lies in the whole system that allowed these actions to happen in the first place. This is what really needs to change. AFAIK we have had approximately zero news about these changes. And sweeping the whole thing under the carpet will not help the company in the future.

A change in president does sound like a good place to bring it up. After all Jim will have to deal with the subject.

And the long-term answer is not We'll do our best, trust us.


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Sunderstone wrote:
Yoshua wrote:

Keiftu is no troll, and trying to project that on them is not cool. They asked a very valid question, and got an answer. Saying it is derailing the thread is what is going to wind up derailing the thread. Could have just not commented, and now there is a back and forth.

OR...

Keftiu could have courteously started a new thread instead of threadcrapping here.

and Congrats to Jim. Always good to see folks from the TSR days.

Nah.... You actually have former Paizo employees stating that the only way to ever get the executives to enact any change is to do exactly what keiftu is doing.


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Oathbound!

Congratz on Jim.


Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
This uncannily reminds me of Ryan Dancey leaving his leadership position at Goblinworks (Paizo's spinoff company making Pathfinder Online MMO) for "personal reasons" being announced as a one-sentence passage in a blog post.

Huh.

Forgot about that.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

What did Mr. Butler do at Turbine? Was he involved with Lord of the Rings Online or D&D Online?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

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Leon Aquilla wrote:

What did Mr. Butler do at Turbine? Was he involved with Lord of the Rings Online or D&D Online?

Both and more. His resume is detailed on LinkedIn.

Wayfinders Contributor

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Congratulations on the Promotion, Jim. What an impressive resume you have! I'm happy to see someone of your caliber taking the lead. I look forward to seeing what you bring to the company and gamer community as you take the helm.

It's been a turbulent time for the Paizo community. I hope that you can lead the company forward with compassion, and help us all heal a little. There is so much that the greater Paizo community has to offer -- diverse storylines from Paizo, a wonderful creative staff, and an even more diverse gamer community participating in your game from around the world. I invite you to get to know all sides of the community as you lead the company forward.

Wishing you the best,
Hmm

PS Wishing Jeff Alvarez healing too; health is important.

Liberty's Edge

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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Congratulations on the Promotion, Jim. What an impressive resume you have! I'm happy to see someone of your caliber taking the lead. I look forward to seeing what you bring to the company and gamer community as you take the helm.

It's been a turbulent time for the Paizo community. I hope that you can lead the company forward with compassion, and help us all heal a little. There is so much that the greater Paizo community has to offer -- diverse storylines from Paizo, a wonderful creative staff, and an even more diverse gamer community participating in your game from around the world. I invite you to get to know all sides of the community as you lead the company forward.

Wishing you the best,
Hmm

PS Wishing Jeff Alvarez healing too; health is important.

In the end, keeping the dialogue going -- no matter how different our views may be -- is vital. It is only when people stop talking that we lose any hope of solving problems and finding common ground. So, it will take time, honest discussions, and mutual respect to understand each other and move forward together. I believe that the future can be better than the past and that we are stronger together. The choice, as always, is up to us.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Leon Aquilla wrote:

What did Mr. Butler do at Turbine? Was he involved with Lord of the Rings Online or D&D Online?

I had just started playing DDO. They "Borrowed" some things from PF2, like the enhancement trees being like archtype add ons instead of Prestige Class type of divergent class multiple.

Quite enjoying myself requainting myself to various setting aspects from 3.5.


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thaX wrote:
Leon Aquilla wrote:

What did Mr. Butler do at Turbine? Was he involved with Lord of the Rings Online or D&D Online?

I had just started playing DDO. They "Borrowed" some things from PF2, like the enhancement trees being like archtype add ons instead of Prestige Class type of divergent class multiple.

Quite enjoying myself requainting myself to various setting aspects from 3.5.

DDO is 16 years old, no chance it could be borrowing anything from PF2.


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Congrats Jim. Good luck! Hopefully you can help to get the company back on track.


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Congratulations to Jim

And wishing Jeff a speedy recovery


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
emky wrote:
Congrats Jim. Good luck! Hopefully you can help to get the company back on track.

Hopefully that means 'maintaining the progress made thus far' on important things like bigotry, hatred, and marginalization of select sections of the gaming community versus a backslide to 'better days'.

And in addition to the above hope, striving to do better.

Apologies for cynicism, I've read the above message once a day for the past three days and my perspective hasn't changed -- hoped stepping away would give me a better perspective but if anything it got darker.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
emky wrote:
Congrats Jim. Good luck! Hopefully you can help to get the company back on track.

Hopefully that means 'maintaining the progress made thus far' on important things like bigotry, hatred, and marginalization of select sections of the gaming community versus a backslide to 'better days'.

And in addition to the above hope, striving to do better.

Apologies for cynicism, I've read the above message once a day for the past three days and my perspective hasn't changed -- hoped stepping away would give me a better perspective but if anything it got darker.

Big same.

I've mostly stepped away from the Paizo forums entirely but just about every time I've poked my head back in I've seen something miserable. We just had yet another person decide this was the place to post their transphobic rant before getting banned.

I hope Jeff recovers but I also hope anyone does the right thing and hustles him fully out the door. I've got very little interest in pulling punches these days and people are still thirsty to see an iota of accountability at this company. Ultimately Jeff is in a position of incredible luxury and privilege that to be allowed to step out of his role as president due to health concerns and still get a consulting gig. A kindness I highly doubt would be extended to the rank and file of the company.

Jim, good luck, between Jeff's actions and the major competition in the space being WotC the bar is set relatively low but I hope you leap over it. Please listen to the union and please try to make this company into what it promised it was for so long.

Dark Archive

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Hopefully this is a good change of direction that presages a better future for the company and the employees there, I applaud that if so and will be happy to see it. That said, there is a wealth of experienced, skilled, creative people at Paizo who might have bought a somewhat younger and more directly in touch with the needs of the staff view of things, and especially one that wasn't so strongly tied to the previous leadership in many ways. Change is a good thing, strength and growth can come from it, this feels like a missed opportunity for some more serious change

Liberty's Edge

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It is the owners' privilege to choose their company's leadership.

Hope it works.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Can't wait to see what you do with the place, Jim.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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Removed a post for being harassing and inappropriate.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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Removed further posts for being baiting. This is a post in celebration of a promotion, not to discuss accountability concerns. Those should be addressed in their own space.


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Jonathan Morgantini wrote:
Removed further posts for being baiting. This is a post in celebration of a promotion, not to discuss accountability concerns. Those should be addressed in their own space.

I’m a little confused why my initial question was removed more than a month after the fact, but not the reply I got from Aaron - a reply that, understandably, made me think my question was appropriate, since it was coming from senior staff.


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Hurrah for Jim! Hurrah for Paizo! I am very much enjoying your team-up with Shane Hensley and the Pinnacle Entertainment Group and look forward to future collaborations! Starfinder for Savage Worlds, you say? Yes plz!!!


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keftiu wrote:
Jonathan Morgantini wrote:
Removed further posts for being baiting. This is a post in celebration of a promotion, not to discuss accountability concerns. Those should be addressed in their own space.
I’m a little confused why my initial question was removed more than a month after the fact, but not the reply I got from Aaron - a reply that, understandably, made me think my question was appropriate, since it was coming from senior staff.

The move seems to be to shut down threads or posts that are critical of the lack of customer service going on, people waiting months for responses, or anything they don't like.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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I'm going to address this not in moderator voice. Being onsite at PaizoCon meant other things took a temporary backseat. With the recent changes to the company roster, we are re-assessing team needs and are going to be responding accordingly. We appreciate everyone's patience as we train up new staff and get things under control.


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Jonathan Morgantini wrote:
I'm going to address this not in moderator voice. Being onsite at PaizoCon meant other things took a temporary backseat. With the recent changes to the company roster, we are re-assessing team needs and are going to be responding accordingly. We appreciate everyone's patience as we train up new staff and get things under control.

While that is commendable, there are European customers who have been waiting months for a response that impacts them financially.


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Congratulations are in order also what Jonathan says.

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