John Riccitiello has officially offered his resignation (effective March 30th) as Chief Executive Officer of Electronic Arts, according to a letter to company chairman Larry Probst (below). The departure is apparently the consequence of EA’s failure to meet financial targets in the last quarter, although no official reason for the resignation has been confirmed by the publisher. Riccitiello has not clarified any future career plans to the press at this time.
March 17, 2013
Mr. Larry Probst
Chairman Electronic Arts
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.
Larry Probst – the chairman of the board since 1994 – will manage the transition period until a new boss is found, with EA reportedly reviewing both internal and external candidates.
“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 part, “John’s tenure at EA has been marked by bold decisions, a big vision for online games, a passion for product quality and an enduring respect for the people who work here. John made an indelible mark on our culture and shaped many of our most successful leaders. We wish him the very best in whatever he decides to do next.”
EA released an accompanying statement saying, “EA expects that its revenues and earnings per share for the current quarter will be at the low end of, or slightly below previously issued guidance provided in its press release dated January 30, 2013.” The publisher will announce its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013 results on May 7th. According to GamesIndustry.biz, EA’s stock increased 2.6% in the wake of Riccitiello’s resignation announcement. This continues an upward trend from around $14 to almost $19 since early January.
Report filed by Thomas Coutts