EA CEO John Riccitiello Resigns
Yesterday, it was reported that Electronic Arts’ CEO, John Riccitiello, was resigning from his position effective March 30—apparently as a result of lower-than-projected financial predictions for the end of the fiscal year. Riccitiello’s resignation letter explains how he came to the decision to step down from the position he’s held since 2007:
“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.”
A post on Polygon points the way to a press release published on EA’s investor site, which explains that Riccitiello’s resignation will bring in former CEO and current Board of Directors Chairman Larry Probst as the interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement. Said Probst on Riccitiello’s departure:
“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. 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.”
While EA’s financial outlook may be below expectations, it’s still been one of the most consistently successful companies under Riccitiello’s guidance—though, from a public relations standpoint, the company’s had more than its share of troubles. Last year, EA was named “Worst Company in America” by the Consumerist, while there was an uproar over the end of Mass Effect 3 shortly after that game’s early 2012 release. And, obviously, the recent debacle regarding SimCity’s launch can’t be ignored when looking to compare EA’s recent successes and failures.
And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Some of our readers and commenters tend to have some pretty unfavorable opinions regarding EA, despite the fact that they publish some of the best and most highly regarded games around. That never enters into it for many video game fans: EA’s size and business practices leaves a lot of fans feeling uncharitable toward the company, and that’s got to be a tough uphill battle for its management to fight.
So, to me, Riccitiello’s resignation raises the question: was it totally voluntary? Or was it “suggested” by the board of directors, the chairman of which will be taking over once the current CEO exits?
Just a thought…