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EA bigwigs sell off their company stock while it's hot
EA bigwigs sell off their company stock while it's hot
May 12, 2014 | By Alex Wawro




Newsbrief: Electronic Arts executives Patrick Soderlund, Peter Moore and Stephen Bene sold off large quantities of their company stock last week, right as the company's stock value hit what GameSpot reported was a six-year high in the wake of a positive quarterly financial report.

According to SEC filings published by EA, executive vice president of EA Studios Patrick Soderlund sold his entire stake in the company, 36,133 shares, for over $1.2 million.

EA senior vice president and general counsel Stephen Bene also sold off his EA stock, all 7,771 shares of it, for just under $260,000.

Peter Moore, who currently serves as the company's chief operating officer, sold 100,000 shares for roughly $3.4 million. According to his SEC filing, Moore still holds at least 108,691 shares of EA stock.


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Comments


Josh Charles
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Hhmmm.

John Brooks
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Hmm indeed.

John Maurer
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Golden parachute?

Robert Carter
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If this is Professor John Maurer who taught GSP 101 six-ish years ago, thank you for being a wonderful influence at the start of my career :)

I never got the chance to say so before you left the University

John Maurer
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I remember you Robert, I was glad to be of service, go do great things

Alan Barton
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So how much did the other members of staff also earn from selling their shares/loot? ... You know, like the Programmers and Artists and other creative people?. You know, the people who make the games. Oh that's right, my mistake, I forgot my place, lowly serfs like us, don't earn the companies enough money to deserve a share of the loot. (At least that's what our lord masters want us to believe ;)

Robert Carter
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Most executives started in our lowly positions. Bob Iger, current CEO of Disney, started as a weatherman for a local news station. There are executives who view us as 'lower', and I dont doubt that kind is common enough at EA, but we shouldnt hate or be envious of those who are in a better position than us by assuming they embody the spirit of Ebenezer. Many of them earned it the hard (ie ethical) way, and remain supportive of those who work under them.

Though believe me, I know where youre coming from. Ive been at companies that abused their employees, that have created toxic work environments, and failed to deliver promises of raises or compensation across the board the same day they announced bonuses to execs, and I have not been around for that long either. I just always like to give the benefit of the doubt whenever I can, so Ill even give it to EA execs :)

Alan Barton
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@Robert Carter, You are so wrong and I'm going to show you how wrong you are.

Imagine being financially stuck for years in a one bedroom flat, because you can't save up enough from your job to even save 2k a year, and you find yourself facing 20k debt because you previously desperately tried to escape this cycle of employee abuse and you later find out the flat you were stuck in and where you have developed a permanent cough was because the flat was damp and that dampness of the flat has resulted in you suffering lung damage which means you now suffer reduced your oxygen capacity which has resulted in an increase in your blood pressure to compensate for reduced oxygen capacity and that increased blood pressure is causing you organ damage ... all that ... whilst I was earning my bosses millions ... repeatedly over years ... and yet, in your mind, you play the straw man move by calling it "we shouldn’t hate or be envious of those".

Its not hate or envy its despair of being treated so unfairly in return for decades of unending loyalty.

This year, I've now been at work for 30 years and I've worked out in that time the total income from just the projects where I was the only programmer on the project has earned is over $75.5M!!! ... Do you know how much I've shared in that? I'm still in the same financial hole and my health is still suffering as a result.

Yet you dismiss me by assuming its hate or be envy and as a result you are very likely the kind of person who will not look into or listen to the hardship staff undoubtedly are suffering around you.

Staff in the games industry are paid appallingly bad. Back when I was a young fool, I worked in jobs where I done 60 hours a week extra overtime and kept doing that for many months on end. (18 months on one project). That's 60 hours of unpaid overtime per week!. My record is 125 hours of work in one week. I even had my own company issued sleeping bag!, because before that I was sleeping under off cuts of carpet in the office because the office heating was off over night and I was cold even with my coat on! and yet you tell me "we shouldn’t hate or be envious of those". Its not hate or envy its despair.

When it comes to asking for more money, employees are left feeling like Oliver Twist, as in "please sir can I have some more". Yet if you get more (because the boss knows they need you at that moment) you'll find out later you are more likely to be made redundant at the end of the project where they cut costs until either they sign up another game and then they get in a load more cheaper programmers ... or the boss shuts down the company and walk off with the money. Either way the staff get almost nothing and struggle to keep a roof over their head whilst trying to get another job before their 4 to 6 weeks of redundancy money runs out assuming they even got any redundancy money ... and yet you tell me "we shouldn’t hate or be envious of those". Its not hate or envy its despair.

You've played the "hate or envy" straw man, so why don't you next play the "burn out" straw man, but then we can all see its not burn out, its really wise up. Wising up to how close mindedness combined with self interested narcissistic greed is the real reason most bosses are able to justify taking so much, whilst giving so little.

The irony is if all the creative people stand together against these kinds of bad bosses, then the boss has nothing. The boss doesn't have the ability to create these products. (But then the staff have little money and free time to escape this cycle of employee abuse and even if they try to use their spare time, their spare time belongs to the boss because every thought the staff have in their spare time is said to belong to their boss lord and master). But still if the staff do find a way to stand together, there are two good ways to stand together. Traditionally that meant the formation of unions, but these days unions have been so badly demonised in society that most people no longer think of standing together that way. (Which is exactly how bosses like it for everyone to think like that). However there is a new way to stand together. We creative people can take our experience and together form our own companies, thereby excluding these greedy narcissistic people who exploit and lie and manipulate people for their own gain.

That is another big reason why there is such growth and interest in the indie way of doing business. More employees are starting to wake up to how bad a deal they are getting in the AAA companies and so they are starting their own companies and the more that do, the more the idea will spread.

So if EA fear their days are numbers, I say good. Its not hate or envy to think that, its relief.

Jeff F
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I understand jobs are not extremely plentiful, but if you have such a horrible life, why not change it?

Don't hate on those that worked to get where they are. Do they treat their employees fair? maybe not, maybe so. You are hating on them b/c of your envy it seems. Some jobs are more cutthroat than others. Be the best or be weeded out.

Alan Barton
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@"Don't hate on those that worked to get where they are."

Again you play the straw man argument lie. Its not hate, its sick of this bullshit way of treating people.

I'm sure some bad employers on here will vote you up, but then they stand to gain from talking down to anyone who dares to speak about all of this.

Jeff F, your whole 2nd post shows you haven't heard one thing I've said. You are still clinging to the " hate or envy" straw man argument lie. That is why your kind are the problem, because all the time you cling to that lie, your attitude will never change to see and look into or listen to the hardship staff undoubtedly are suffering around you.

"@why not change it?"
Employment all to often functions and feels like open air prisons side by side. Sure you can leave at any time you like, but without the money to truly escape, you have to walk right into yet another open air prison and start again. But then too many bosses like it like this, as they can ruthlessly exploit people for their own gain and throw you out if you try to ask for more, so few dare to ask for more and will fail even if they try.

Its called a Hobson's choice...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobson%27s_choice

Oh and if you think you can hold out for getting better terms on your contract before signing, then one of two things will happen. Either someone who needs the money more than you will sign first and you will loose out, or yes wonderful you will get signed up on a better deal. Great you've won, only you'll later find you've really lost, because you'll be made redundant as soon as the boss can, to replace you quietly with someone cheaper.

Michael Joseph
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The people who do best (economically) in corporate environments are the ones who treat the company as a system they can exploit. Be selfish, be political, be shrewd and be ruthless. Feign loyalty and dedication. This is the same way the corporation treat and deal with everyone inside and outside of it's walls.

Ironically, corporations can only prosper when only a relatively small percentage of the employees think and act this way. They need 90%+ of their office staff to be loyal, honest, passionate, hard workers who care about the company and who take pride in their work even though there will be little or no reciprocation and no fair compensation.

There's a lot people can do to avoid becoming enslaved if they work for a corporation. When / if you buy a home, forget about the home that's going to take you 15-30 years to pay off. Look for a home you can pay off in 7 - 15. Forget about the big SUV and buy a reliable brand used Japanese car from the used car lot of a major new car dealership in your area (avoid those rinky dinky dealers that only sell used cars). Forget about the silly mega home theater setup and all the latest electronic gadgets and doodads. Always be thinking about your health. Demand a better chair if you need one. Pack your own lunches with plenty of fruits for mid-day snacks. The one area of your life you should never skimp to save money is on healthy food especially fresh produce. Bake your own bread for fun, knowledge, health, and to save money. You don't need to spend 8 - 10 bucks at Subway or in the corporate cafeteria. You'll never get tired of fresh salads and sandwiches made at home on homemade bread. Homemade trail mix is a great snack too. Quit the coffee and caffeinated cold drinks and switch to tea. greentealovers.com is a good place to buy real green tea. You can drink it hot or iced. Invest in some good lunch containers and a cooler. Stay away from the computer and tv when you get home. You've been staring at a monitor long enough. Leave the work at work. You're definitely not getting paid to stress about work when you're not there. Read, take your dog on a 3 mile walk, take the spouse out on a picnic. BBQ's aren't just for Sunday's during the summer months. Help your spouse prepare dinner. It's a good time to talk about whatever. You've learned how to work, learn how to live as an adult and not as an overgrown kid. And just maybe you wont find yourself getting divorced someday.

At some point when you're ready to leave the corporation, you'll still have your health, you'll have good equity in your home and not be at the mercy of an insatiable mortgage and car payment, and you'll have a legitimate savings built up. And you'll have options.

*years of crunch and excessive overtime not only ruins your health (mentally and physically), it can ruin your relationship with your significant other and your kids. There's no easy answers there. But it has to start with acknowledging that you shouldn't have to sacrifice the quality of your health and your relationships just to earn a living. Ever. What are you living for? For retirement? The best days of your life are now.

**work hard play hard is the stupidest f***ing phrase ever.

Greg Scheel
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Wow, poignant.

And, a solid justification for going indie, despite the long odds.

Heck, I live in a house with a leaky toilet the landlord does not want to know about, and have an illness I can't seem to shake. Time to move.

Glenn Royer
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Like many corporations, EA employees have a program to purchase stock at discount, and many of them take part in it. Stock is also granted as an award to employees for exceptional performance. So yes, many of them are benefiting right now too.

Alan Barton
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@"many of them are benefiting"

Tell that to the employees of the companies EA have made redundant.
http://www.computerandvideogames.com/183194/every-studio-eas-boug
ht-and-closed/

Tuomas Pirinen
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I some years ago worked for EA, got share options and shares as part of the compensation, and sold them at 60$. Obviously did not make as much as the Executives, but EA does share the success with its lower-ranking employees.

Alan Barton
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https://www.google.com/search?q=ea_spouse

The evidence shows far more are treated badly by EA.

Jeff F
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Well taht is one guy, the ea_spouse. @Tuomas Pirenen is one guy too, and stated he was given some of the success of the company.

EA has a bad rap, so in time, if they don't make a better consumer experience, they will fail, but as long as it is good enough to keep consumers coming back, EA will enjoy lush returns on investment.

Alan Barton
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It wasn't just one guy. That's another straw man argument lie. EA Spouse was many people sharing their same games industry war stories, which resulted in a class action against companies like EA.

Its interesting how these tactics work. Its all straw man arguments, to dismiss & distract & lie, its all to get people to look away. But then if more employees were to see wrong in this kind of behaviour, the bosses would stand to loose out. But then the straw man attempts shows a conscious deceit to attempt to distract and falsely diminish these stories. Interesting.

Tuomas Pirinen
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I joined after the EA spouse debacle, so I cannot comment on time before my employment. And I was noting specifically on the share options that were discussed in the article, not on work/life balance or anything else.

I hope you are not implying I am trying to deceive someone? Or are you just commenting on what Jeff said?

Alan Barton
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@Tuomas Pirinen

I started that post you are referring to with "It wasn't just one guy.", therefore in that context, you can already see I was referring to Jeff's post.

However you were spreading misinformation, which I corrected, (with the google link) so you have no reason to feel offended, as everyone can make mistakes, which we can all accept just happens.

Jeff however is showing a pattern of either denial or I don't know what, but I reached the point where I no longer want to keep quiet about this industry's working and employment practices. Nothing is gained from silence other than the continued exploitation of good people trying to work very hard for very little.

Tuomas Pirinen
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OK, first off, let me say that I can see from your comments that you have suffered financial and physical hardship in the industry (as indeed have I), and I have a lot of sympathy for that.

However, I did NOT spread any misinformation, as what I wrote is 100% true. This article deals with share-based compensation at EA, and I told of my experiences of it: this is an industry site and we share such information here.

The link you shared was about work/life balance -in no way did that disproof what I said (which it couldn't, as I was speaking the truth). EA spouse was a sad episode in our industry and for EA, but not connected in any way to what I was talking about, i.e. share options.

Claiming your industry colleagues are spreading misinformation on a public site like Gamasutra is a serious accusation. I would not throw accusations like that out lightly.

Alan Barton
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@Tuomas Pirinen
@"EA does share the success with its lower-ranking employees."

Tell that to the employees of the companies EA have made redundant.
http://www.computerandvideogames.com/183194/every-studio-eas-boug
ht-and-closed/

Do you think the pay in this industry is always fair? ... No
Do you think that is really sharing the success and profits? ... No
Do you think the working conditions are always fair... No
Do you think that is sharing the success and profits? ... No

Sure EA are not the only problem, this problem of greed and treating people badly is industry wide.

But in summary I would say in my experience companies in our industry do not share success. Maybe you have experienced a good company so in your mind you are right and maybe I've experienced many bad companies in the past 30 years and in my mind companies are not fair. But even the better of the companies I've worked for don't really share success and being paid in free pizza doesn't count. Just look at the yearly pay levels in the games industry shows how they don't share success.

Curtiss Murphy
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Hmmm.... and woah.

John Flush
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Yeah, they know this gen isn't working out so far for them... I expect Titanfall PS4 soon.

But I don't know. Maybe people will start easing up on them. I know I just bought ME3 for $9... my first EA game bought in the last 4 years. Yeah, I'm one of the few that put their money where their mouth was due to EA policies and demands upon their consumers.


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