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EA CEO John Riccitiello steps down after what could be a rough quarter
EA CEO John Riccitiello steps down after what could be a rough quarter
March 18, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi




Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has apparently resigned from the company.

A memo sent to outlets including Gamasutra says that Riccitiello will step down as both the CEO and a member of its board of directors effective March 30. A replacement has not been named.

"I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and after six years I feel it is the right time for me pass the baton and let new leadership take the company into its next phase of innovation and growth," Riccitiello said in a statement.

Riccitiello's resignation comes as EA expects its revenues and earnings per share for this current financial quarter to be at the low end or slightly below what it was projecting at the end of January. Those results will be announced on May 7.

Investors seem pleased with the news: shares are up 5.45 percent in after-hours trading, at press time.

EA veteran Larry Probst has been named the company's executive chairman in order to facilitate a transition while it searches for its next CEO.

"We have mutually agreed that this is the right time for a leadership transition," he said.

As part of the arrangement, Riccitiello will continue to be paid his base salary for the next two years, totaling north of $1.7 million.

Update:

John Riccitiello's full resignation letter follows:

March 17, 2013

Mr. Larry Probst
Chairman Electronic Arts

Dear Larry,

I hereby offer my resignation as CEO of Electronic Arts effective with the end of our Fiscal Year 13 on March 30, 2013.

This is a tough decision, but it all comes down to accountability. The progress EA has made on transitioning to digital games and services is something Iím extremely proud of. However, it currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued in January, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. EAís shareholders and employees expect better and I am accountable for the miss.

I have been at the helm as EAís CEO for six years and served as COO for nearly seven years starting in 1997. I know this company well, and I care deeply about its future success. I leave knowing EA is a great company, with an enormously talented group of leaders and the strongest slate of games in the industry. I could not be more proud of our companyís games, from Battlefield and FIFA, to The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Real Racing 3. We have built many great franchises that will serve the company well in FY14 and beyond. In particular, I am confident that the investments we have made in games for next-generation consoles will put EA in a strong leadership position for many years ahead.

In offering my resignation, my goal is to allow the talented leaders at EA a clean start on FY14. I look forward to working with you in the coming weeks on an effective leadership transition. Iím extremely honored to have led this company and proud to have worked with all the great people at Electronic Arts.

Sincerely,

/s/ John Riccitiello

John Riccitiello


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Comments


Aaron San Filippo
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Queue obligatory comments assuming this is because of Sim City.

Steven An
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Maybe this is because of SimCity :P

Christian Nutt
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Well now that we have his resignation letter, we have a better picture (than when you posted this comment.) The debacles of:

Warhammer
SWTOR
MOH
SimCity

...just to name the notable ones... well, they can't help, however.

Steven Ulakovich
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Been saying this for about a week now. There is no way that the man's job could have been safe after another PR disaster that EA could not control.

This should pave the way for Peter Moore to take over.

Ken Nakai
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Or maybe just queue comments noting that whatever management decisions that resulted in the SimCity debacle may be why he's leaving...

Johnathon Swift
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Starts Dancing, WOOOO.

Of course with EA's history who knows if his replacement will be any smarter. It's like they've been cursed with "The Executives that make somewhat bad decisions but never really enough to have it go under".

Joseph Legemah
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Probst is the Palpatine to Riccitiello's Vader. Probst earned them their bad name and solidified their corporate culture. only changes i'd expect is no more new IP's at all, and much more studio acquisitions and sequels.

Steven Ulakovich
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The resignation letter has popped up via a SEC filing....


March 17, 2013

Mr. Larry Probst

Chairman Electronic Arts

Dear Larry,

I hereby offer my resignation as CEO of Electronic Arts effective with the end of our Fiscal Year 13 on March 30, 2013.

This is a tough decision, but it all comes down to accountability. The progress EA has made on transitioning to digital games and services is something Iím extremely proud of. However, it currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued in January, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. EAís shareholders and employees expect better and I am accountable for the miss.

I have been at the helm as EAís CEO for six years and served as COO for nearly seven years starting in 1997. I know this company well, and I care deeply about its future success. I leave knowing EA is a great company, with an enormously talented group of leaders and the strongest slate of games in the industry. I could not be more proud of our companyís games, from Battlefield and FIFA, to The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Real Racing 3. We have built many great franchises that will serve the company well in FY14 and beyond. In particular, I am confident that the investments we have made in games for next-generation consoles will put EA in a strong leadership position for many years ahead.

In offering my resignation, my goal is to allow the talented leaders at EA a clean start on FY14. I look forward to working with you in the coming weeks on an effective leadership transition. Iím extremely honored to have led this company and proud to have worked with all the great people at Electronic Arts.

Sincerely,

/s/ John Riccitiello

John Riccitiello

Andrew Wallace
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Every time an EA person mentions their games it reads like they went to their Wikipedia page and picked three random ones off the list.

Michael Wenk
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I doubt SimCity had that much to do with it, other than the fact that SC not being wildly successful didn't help.

The only surprising thing, to me anyways, is that it took this long. Now I don't have anything against Riccitiello personally, but with EA set to report yet another below expectation quarter, I'm sure that the investors are probably screaming for his head.

Of course I doubt anyone else would have been able to get more sales out of the market as it has been. EA's already trying to monetize everything it can, and obviously it isn't doing so hot. So IMO, this move may be good for investors, it is probably going to be extremely painful for anyone working for EA or any EA project. Why? Because the cuts are coming. EA can't raise its revenues much, so it will have to cut costs, and probably do so in a draconian fashion.

Ardney Carter
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Well maybe they could start by not paying former employees for 2 years AFTER their exit. Save 'north of' 1.7 mil right there.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Some history. He got fired from EA in 2004, and went to start an investing business that bought Bioware and Pandemic for around 300 millions. When he re-joined EA in 2007, the first move he did was to make EA buy Bioware and Pandemic from his former partners for close to 900 millions. Months later, most of Pandemic was already shut down, and after that the annual EA tradition of holiday season layoffs began. Take what you want from it.

Mike Griffin
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So JR sealed the fate of Pandemic, and forever altered BioWare's history and company culture. While no doubt pocketing untold millions.

And another 2 million, just for quitting.

Oh the executive's life: A puppet master pulling purse strings.

Si Tran
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Larry's said something about JR's resign like a mockery "John made an indelible mark on our culture and shaped many of our most successful leaders." So many talented people departed or were let go from EA ... artists, engineers, producers, only to form more successful model (as in the case of Sledgehammer) and some have their life and career forever altered from this mummer farce!

E Zachary Knight
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"As part of the arrangement, Riccitiello will continue to be paid his base salary for the next two years, totaling north of $1.7 million."

Seriously? Where do I sign up to be a CEO? I will even resign a week later just to limit the damage I would cause.

Brad Walton
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"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"

Game companies run by shareholders, sorry it just doesn't work.


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