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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.


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 I'm 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. EA's shareholders and employees expect better and I am accountable for the miss.

I have been at the helm as EA's 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 company's 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. I'm extremely honored to have led this company and proud to have worked with all the great people at Electronic Arts.


/s/ John Riccitiello

John Riccitiello

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