IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael Morhaime, President, CEO and Co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., has been named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Technology Award winner. Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year is the country's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.
Morhaime was recognized for his commitment to a high standard of quality that has propelled Blizzard Entertainment to the pinnacle of the gaming industry and positioned the company as an internationally recognized leader in interactive entertainment. Morhaime was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards gala, the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum® in Palm Springs, Calif. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in nine additional categories. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from 244 regional award recipients.
"To use his words, Morhaime has unleashed his 'inner geek,' creating a cultural phenomenon that is unparalleled in the gaming industry," said Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year, Ernst & Young LLP. "Morhaime brings a commitment to quality to his consumers and an inclusive work environment to his company, both of which have contributed to the immense success of Blizzard."
"I get by with a little help from my friends" – and family
Blizzard was started from the ground up with little more than hopes, dreams and a loving grandmother. In 1991, Morhaime decided to leave corporate life and start a company with two partners. There was only one problem: he did not have the seed money to invest, so he approached his grandmother who provided him with a $15,000 loan written on an index card. That card is still displayed in Morhaime's office today. Since then, Blizzard Entertainment has become a market leader in software development and publishing and is renowned for some of the world's most critically acclaimed games and blockbusters such as World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo franchises.
Blizzard's success under Morhaime's leadership has helped transform the company into a global enterprise, with offices in North America, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Over the past 20 years, Morhaime has navigated Blizzard through changes in corporate ownership and has managed the growth of the company from its three original founders to more than 4,000 employees worldwide.
Every voice matters
Morhaime has developed a unique cultural environment at Blizzard – one that truly differentiates the company. As a development team finishes one project, it collaborates with the executive team on the next game. By including the development teams in the decision making process, the company is able to foster an environment where developers are extremely passionate and motivated in their work. The development team seeks feedback from employees throughout the company, making the development of a game at Blizzard completely interactive.
This sense of ownership, along with the collaborative work environment, has had a very positive impact on the quality level of the games produced, leading to scores of "game of the year" awards, a globally recognized brand name, and several "best places to work" awards.
National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Technology finalists
In addition to Morhaime, the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year Technology finalists were: Jon Oringer, Founder and CEO, Shutterstock, based in New York, N.Y., is an innovative technology company, operating in more than 150 countries and 10 languages, with a mission to connect creative professionals with the best photos, vectors, illustrations and video from thousands of contributors around the world; Ken Xie, Founder, President and CEO, Fortinet, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is a worldwide provider of network security appliances and a market leader in unified threat management; David Flynn, Founder and CEO, and Rick White, Founder and CMO, Fusion-io, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, accelerates databases, virtualization, cloud computing, big data and the applications that drive our economy and our daily lives with the Fusion ioMemory platform.
National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Overall Award winner
Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder of Chobani, was named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Overall Award winner.
Video and photos
To view video clips of all of the Entrepreneur Of The Year winners, please visit ey.com/us/eoy. Photos of the winners are also available by request.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the United States by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
About Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year
Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in 50 countries.
About Ernst & Young LLP's Strategic Growth Markets practice
Ernst & Young LLP's Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) practice guides leading high-growth companies. Our multidisciplinary team of elite professionals provides perspective and advice to help our clients accelerate market leadership. SGM delivers assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to thousands of companies spanning all industries. Ernst & Young is the undisputed leader in taking companies public, advising key government agencies on the issues impacting high-growth companies and convening the experts who shape the business climate. For more information, please visit us at ey.com/us/strategicgrowthmarkets, or follow news on Twitter at EY_Growth.
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SOURCE Ernst & Young