EA CEO resigns

John Riccitiello to leave FIFA, Battlefield publisher March 30 after six years as top executive; search committee for replacement to consider internal and external candidates.

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Electronic Arts chief executive officer John Riccitiello will resign from his position at the FIFA and Battlefield publisher after six years effective March 30, the company announced today. In addition, he will no longer be a member of the publisher's board of directors.

The EA board of directors has appointed longtime EA executive Larry Probst as executive chairman of the publisher while a search is conducted for Riccitiello's permanent replacement. Probst has been in a leadership position at EA since 1991 and was CEO from 1991 to 2007. The Board will consider internal and external candidates, the company said, with the help of a "leading executive search firm."

"We thank John for his contributions to EA since he was appointed CEO in 2007, especially the passion, dedication and energy he brought to the Company every single day," Probst said in a statement. "John has worked hard to lead the Company through challenging transitions in our industry, and was instrumental in driving our very significant growth in digital revenues. We appreciate John's leadership and the many important strategic initiatives he has driven for the Company. We have mutually agreed that this is the right time for a leadership transition."

Riccitiello offered his own comments on his decision to leave EA. He praised the publisher and its employees and said he is optimistic about the company's future with next-generation consoles on the horizon.

"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."

"EA is an outstanding company with creative and talented employees, and it has been an honor to serve as the Company’s CEO," Riccitiello said in a statement. "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. I remain very optimistic about EA's future; there is a world class team driving the Company’s transition to the next generation of game consoles.

The internal memo Riccitiello sent to Probst regarding his resignation was published by the Securities and Exchange Commission. It states that the "tough" decision to leave was a matter of being accountable to shareholders.

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."

Sincerely,
John Riccitiello

As part of Riccitiello's separation agreement with EA, he will continue to draw a salary for 24 months.

Discussion

830 comments
June-GS
June-GS

Dat last part... We should all be so lucky.

blackothh
blackothh

i should go on vacation more often,  maybe my next vacation i will miss hearing the news that EA has finally fallen.

KodiakCS
KodiakCS

The EAmperor finally sacrificed Darth Riccitiello....

I wonder if this helps SWTOR though?!

bomber1992
bomber1992

Hey, theyre an award winning company, they won a Golden Poo Award, And theyre working hard for another one this year.

GamerNerdTalk
GamerNerdTalk

Finally. Probably go so many death threats he had no choice but to resign. Now maybe EA won't we voted worst company in America :P


AuronAXE
AuronAXE

I wonder what his "Farewell Package" looks like.

LukeWesty
LukeWesty

Burn down £A. Gamers of all stand in one giant circle humming hymns... hallelujah praise the lord.

Assassin_M85
Assassin_M85

Look at that face! EA Chief Destructive Officer. That looks like that face who fked us over...

xguild
xguild

Sim City was a fiasco but I don't believe this is why this particular CEO left, I think half a decade of declining sales and a miserable record for producing poor quality games consistantly was simply highlighted with the fiasco that is Sim City.  Naturally he is not the only one to blame, but when the top man is incapable of identifying where the problem is in his company and correct it, he does not deserve to be in the CEO chair. 

As for the whole DRM thing, once again they have proven without a shadow of a doubt that DRM is bad for everyone.  Its bad for the company.  Its bad for the legitimate consumers.  Its bad for the gaming industry.  Its bad for everyones wallet.  Their is absolutly nothing positive or valuable about DRM's and its been provent with 100% certaintity over and over and over again.  As the old saying goes, crazy is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result and as such we can only conlude that this CEO has resigned because he is crazy.

xguild
xguild

Crazy is doing something over and over while expecting a different result.  How many failed DRM's will it take before the gaming industry relizes that it simply does not work.  It does not create more sales, people hate it so much that they will intentionally not buy games with DRM's.  It does not prevent piracy, their isn't a single DRM in existance that hasn't been cracked.  It does not safeguard the consumer, DRM's are responsible for some of the worst hacking and theft in gaming (see Diablo 3 if you don't believe me). 

Everything that the concept that is DRM tries to acomplish has failed 100% of time, everytime it has ever been attempted.  Yet here we go again, another miserable DRM failure, one that will be cracked before they can resolve all the problems caused by its existance.

The stupidity of game publishers seems to have no bounds, its no wonder Indie companies have become the new staple of PC gaming.

badiie05
badiie05

i read this article a few days ago. I came back just to laugh again.

highlanderjimd
highlanderjimd

abortions for some, miniture american flags to others!

Overlord93
Overlord93

""I am proud of what we have accomplished together"

The destruction of all that is good?

KillerBill316
KillerBill316

Oh, and he still gets paid for two years. Just fueling your fire for my amusement.

Aiberg
Aiberg

Dear Riccitiello,

YOU SUCK!

Regards,

sadeed
sadeed

EA, Now Fix His MISTAKESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Colonel_Jax
Colonel_Jax

Can anyone say SimsCity Clusterfuck?


GareauRA
GareauRA

Hey John, take that seperation pay everyone know's your getting and give it back to the gamers. I mean it is us that put you on that seat with that nice paycheque in the first place. And frankly the releases lately should have put you out the door reguardless.

tstcuwsn
tstcuwsn

Farewell Mr. Riccitiello, Good freaking riddance.

korn7809
korn7809

WAIT!!!! Are you all saying someone who runs a business/company SHOULDN'T be focused on profit?

BARRICADE_28
BARRICADE_28

John R., gamers around the world despise you and your company.  You are a greedy corporate hack who values profits and shareholders over gamers/customers.  You took EA from bad to worse in terms of business ethics.  Good riddance.  Don't let the SimCity launch hit you on the way out...

XboxGuy1537
XboxGuy1537

Thanks for the micro-transactions, incomplete games with huge patches, Day 1 DLC shoved down our throats when it should be in the actual game, and the butchering of Bioware. Yes, Mass Effect 3 was a great game, but Dragon Age II was an atrocious piece of malarcy.

gbrading
gbrading moderator

Alas poor Ricciliello, I knew him Horatio. A fellow of such infinite jest...

lildozer74
lildozer74

"resigns". right.....with several hundred thousand (maybe millions) dollar severance package. corporate greed. The only way EA can ever win me back is to offer their next three full games for free, and order me a pizza with each release (free of course). then...maybe, MAYBE i might think of buying their products again. doubtful, but maybe.

Meteor7
Meteor7

As much as I want to believe this to be good. I have a feeling that the next person to take the torch will probably be the same, if not worse. One can only hope, but I am looking at reality here. The human race is corrupt as hell and I doubt this will change EA's dirty ways. To be honest I wish EA would just kick the bucket, but that ain't happening.

norolim
norolim

Let's hope the new CEO will be a moron and will ruin EA.

pwc2
pwc2

Hope for the best, but expect even worse.

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

A new CEO could mean a chance for a change, lets hope so, although chances are EA's horrific ethos isn't restricted to a single man. The company seems to view gamers like an exploitable commodity and for that reason alone it only seems right to boycott them. 

LE5LO
LE5LO

Yes John, we'll all remember you fondly for The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Real Racing 3, not to mention all the ways you tried and failed to remove every last cent from us with micro-transactions, day 1 DLC, multiplayer codes and always on DRM. Hopefully the new CEO will give us as much to look forward to because we clearly respond well to being shit on by greedy publishers!

asendedtrunks
asendedtrunks

Don't let this PR move distract you and lull you into thinking things will change. Keep complaining to EA, keep commenting on news articles, keep voicing how you want EA to change. Don't let EA ever forget why we wanted refunds on SimCity, and don't let them forget why we gave 1 star reviews on Amazon etc.

Until you actually see the changes you want, don't give up.

Karmazyn
Karmazyn

i am putting my application forward. I will scrap microtransactions and give loyal customers a free game every month. If you would like to vote for me send a letter of recommendation to EA.

tim1935
tim1935

I hope they get a gamer as CEO and not a beancounter

Smoov_B
Smoov_B

This is the problem with America's dispersement of wealth: Dude quits his multi-million dollar job yet will still be paid for 2-years. I'm pretty sure the money they spend on paying someone not to work could be better spent elsewhere

bomber1992
bomber1992

@GamerNerdTalk they still will be. they wanna recover they need to come out with 4 things.

1. NEVER EVER do an always online DRM again

2.Admit they F&%$#d up.

3.Move away from theyre new free to play (Pay to win) mentality.

4. Not move to online only distribution.

Scrapping orgin would be a good call too.

blackothh
blackothh

@xguild i swear that i would not be surprised if DRM originated from something involving stockholders.

jorge69696
jorge69696

@korn7809 You should know what your business is about at least. In the movie industry, investors put the money in and the director makes the movie.

 In the video game industry, publishers put the money and ALSO affect the game development.

Slade968
Slade968

@ICE_PREDATOR I hate EA as much as the next guy but this is just silly. Everything dropped in 2008 and most still haven't recovered. That could probably be the stock graph of any large business. 

tim1935
tim1935

@lildozer74 Gotta love ironclad contracts.  There is more to this story though than we are probably aware.  I don't think they will still have to pay him if he left of his own volition.

Mom_said_no
Mom_said_no

@Karmazyn Put a stop to that annoying Rap commercial for Army of Two... both are BS!


Total_mischief
Total_mischief

@tim1935 In these companies that doesn't happen. EA is run by businessmen with only one thing in mind: money. The guys at the top are nothing like the guys that actually make that income possible, the developers, which are forced to shove stupid shit in their games because EA owns them.

eric_neo3
eric_neo3

@Slade968 Read the NASDAQ company name, hint it's in the title.

Also go look which year he joined and how from then on their shares dropped.

Slade968
Slade968

@eric_neo3 @Slade968 I wasn't saying it wasn't EA...Obviously it is. 

I was saying that when the market crashed in September 2008, nearly all publicly traded (and most private) businesses experienced drops like that. It didn't have anything to do with him. The DOW dropped over 600 points, Lehman brothers delcared bankruptcy, AIG recieved bailout money, money market funds lost nearly 150 billion total. 

Using that graph to insinuate that that drop was a direct result of him joining the company is silly and irresponsible.