In light of lower-than-expected financial earnings, EA CEO John Riccitiello will step down from his position, effective March 30.
The position, which Riccitiello has held since 2007, will be managed by Executive Chairman Larry Probst until the vacancy is filled. In his decision to resign, Riccitiello cites "personal responsibility for the publisher's lowered guidance and missed financial targets," according to VG24/7.
In separate statements, Probst had the following to say on Riccitiello and his years of service to EA:
(1) "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 . . . (2) 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 expects that earnings for the current financial quarter will be slightly under expectations. Here's John Riccitiello's resignation letter, in full:
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.
Riccitiello will receive 24 months of salary over the next two years and vesting of unvested stock options until November 30, 2013.