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EA CEO John Riccitiello resigns, millions of Sims begin to cry

It a rather interesting twist today, EA’s CEO John Riccitiello has officially submitted his resignation to EA’s board of directors, with his last day being March 30th, 2013. His resignation is for his position as CEO of the company as well as his spot on the board of directors, both of which will end at the end of March. Larry Probst has been appointed as executive chairman temporarily and has released a public statement.

Larry Probst’s Statement:

Today John Riccitiello submitted his resignation to EA’s Board of Directors.  In a letter to the Board, John outlined that while the company has made enormous progress in improving product quality and transitioning to digital games and services, our financial performance is tracking below the expectations set at the beginning of our fiscal year.  This was disclosed in our last earnings call.

John’s final day will be March 30.  I will serve as executive chairman and work with John and the management team to ensure a smooth and orderly transition.  The Board will immediately initiate a search and both internal and external candidates will be considered for the CEO position.

I hired John in 1997 as our COO and, after leaving to start a private equity firm, he rejoined in 2007 as our CEO.  In 12 years of service, he compiled a history of great leadership.  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.

Looking ahead, EA’s strategy and future are rock solid.  Our business is built on more than a dozen powerful, globally recognized brands.  We are clear leaders in the fastest growing category in games – mobile – and we are positioned to lead on the next generation of consoles.  Most importantly we have deep reserves of talent – new faces and industry veterans who form the core of EA’s leadership.  We have an important year ahead of us and I look forward to working with all of you as we navigate the path to future success!

John Riccitiello has also released a statement explaining why he has decided to resign suddenly. In its short form, it basically explains that he is stepping down due to him taking accountability for the shortcomings in EA’s financial results this year so far.

My decision to leave EA is really all about my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year.  It currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago.  And for that, I am 100 percent accountable. – John Riccitiello

He goes on to explain in his statement that Electronic Arts is actually in a very strong position to take the lead and already has numerous titles under its belt already helping the company to reach that goal. It is interesting that EA is expecting lower results even with all the rather big name hits they have had as of late. Mind you the company has been getting a beat down with its public image on and off badly for the past 6 months.

You’ll also be happy to know that most of these hit titles also have a mobile game version and most of which are free-to-play, leading us to believe that you should expect microtransaction to continue to appear in every EA mobile game as they have stated already. For as much flack as we give companies sometimes, we still wish Mr. Riccitiello the best in his future endeavors.

Website Referenced: EA Blog | Joystiq

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