In a seismic shakeup in the world of gay porn, Raging Stallion Studios founder and president of Falcon Studios Group Chris Ward announced his retirement today. His replacement, once his retirement takes effect at the end of the year, will be NakedSword CEO and fellow AEBN co-owner Tim Valenti.
This is all happening a little over a year after the retirement of Hot House president Steven Scarborough, and the sale of Hot House to Falcon Studios Group. For the last 18 months, the Hot House, Raging Stallion, and Falcon Studios brands have all been under Ward’s leadership, and this move will now officially bring the three brands under the helm of Valenti, alongside the company he founded, NakedSword.
Given that Falcon Studios Group had over 100 DVD releases in 2015, making it the largest single producer of gay erotica in the world, and add to that NakedSword Originals’ output and the ‘Netflix of gay porn’ that is NakedSword.com, and you now have a gay porn powerhouse.
Says Ward, “I have lived a dream working in our industry. I started out in a basement and grew my company into something far larger than I ever thought possible.”
Ward began as both a performer and director for Hot House, working with Scarborough starting in 1996 (with the movie Hole Punch, from which the above photo was taken), and went on to found Raging Stallion with JD Slater in 1999, with Kent Taylor, and built into a major brand in the industry representing a rough and rugged aesthetic that was something like COLT with more of an edge, and more tattoos.
Ward has received over fifty industry awards on his own and several hundred more for films he produced over the years, making him one of the most recognized directors in the industry. He also won best director at the GayVNs three years in a row, working with co-directors Ben Leon, Tony Dimarco, and Steve Cruz.
“So many people helped me during these many years and I would not be able to be in a position to retire without their hard work and support,” says Ward. “There are too many people to name, but without them my career would not have been possible.”
Ward will stay on as one of the co-owners of AEBN but says he won’t be actively participating in the industry post-retirement. “I can be a very controlling person,” he acknowledges, “and I want to clear out and to give Tim the space he needs to take Falcon into the future. I am thankful for that and want to spend the next thirty years doing something different… and maybe telling stories about ‘the good old days.’”
Of Ward’s departure Valenti says, “I have a great respect for the legacy that Chris Ward is leaving behind and for the legacy of the Falcon brand in general. Chris and I have have worked together for many years and I know what it takes to run the group he has worked so hard to build.”
Valenti will still remain CEO of NakedSword, and says he’ll be overseeing the day-to-day operations of both companies. “NakedSword is my baby and will always be a priority to me. In fact, we are working on a lot of new and exciting changes for 2016 and NakedSword is strongly positioned for a bright future.”
Ward says that he’s looking forward to spending more time with his partner, Mo Duran, and enjoying his cats and his wine cellar. With a PhD in history and several books under his belt, Ward plans to split his time between San Francisco and France and perhaps get back to writing.
Valenti closes by saying, “Myself and everyone at NakedSword wish Chris all the best the world has to offer during his well earned retirement.”