EA shuffles executive deck
[UPDATE] Frank Gibeau named president of EA Labels, in charge of EA Games, EA Sports, BioWare, and EA Play; Peter Moore becomes COO; Barry Cottle tapped to oversee mobile/casual-focused EA Interactive.
Electronic Arts is shaking up its organizational structure for the first time since 2007. The publisher today announced a new reorganization, as well as executive appointments to oversee the company's divisions.
Starting Monday, EA Games president Frank Gibeau will take over as president of the new EA Labels, which will be composed of the EA Games, EA Sports, BioWare, and The Sims-driven EA Play divisions. Current EA Sports president Peter Moore will expand his purview, taking over as EA's chief operating officer in charge of the company's global publishing organization and online business, including the new digital distribution service Origin. (EA's previous COO, John Schappert, left the company in April to work for Zynga.) Finally, Barry Cottle will head up EA Interactive, the group that includes EA Mobile, Playfish, Pogo, Hasbro, and PopCap (acquisition pending).
In a statement announcing the changes, EA CEO John Riccitiello said it was "a great reflection" that it could find the newest leaders from within its own ranks and touted the success of the 2007 shake-up.
"Our quality has risen dramatically," Riccitiello said. "We've built an $800-million-plus digital business while pushing down operating costs. Not all of it was easy, but looking back, it was exactly the right structure and priorities for the challenges we faced. Now, we are switching from defense to offense. We're focusing on building our intellectual properties/franchises into year-round business. We've established our own platform, Origin, and we continue to grow our digital business."
[UPDATE] According to EA VP of corporate communication Jeff Brown, the change is in partly an extension of the publisher's strategy to consolidate cross-platform development within studios. He said that previously, a new game in a series like Need for Speed would be developed at a core studio, and then ancillary products, such as a Facebook or mobile game, would be offloaded onto other studios.
However, given the industry's shift toward a 365-day relationship with consumers that emphasizes post-release content, EA began charging teams that made the console versions of a game with also developing its Facebook complement. Brown said that EA has found substantial success with this change, and today's reorganization is a "doubling-down" of those efforts.
Brown also clarified Gibeau's direct reports. The EA Sports label will be led by Andrew Wilson, who previously served under Moore as studio head for EA Sports' various outfits. EA BioWare will be led by company cofounder Dr. Ray Muzyka, while Patrick Soderlund of EA DICE will fill Gibeau's former position atop the EA Games label. Susan Bradshaw has been tapped to head the EA Play division.
Lastly, Brown told GameSpot that the reorganization will not result in any change to its product release schedule. He also noted that far from laying off employees, EA is actively hiring.