John Riccitiello will be stepping down as CEO of Electronic Arts, a role he has occupied since 2007, effective Mar. 30. Larry Probst will serve as Executive Chairman in the interim while the board searches for a replacement.
According to a press release, the board will “consider internal and external candidates with the assistance of a leading executive search firm.”
In a statement given in the release Probst, who has been with EA since 1991, said:
“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.”
The publisher has recently closed some development houses, and laid off employees at others. Revenues were also down to $921 million in the most recent earnings call from last fiscal year’s $1.061 billion, and public opinion on the company has taken a massive blow in recent times (most recently with SimCity’s launch troubles and always-online requirements).
In a statement from Riccitiello himself, the soon to be ex-CEO said the decision to step down was about taking accountability:
“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.”
It is reported that Riccitiello will receive 24-months salary and will retain some stock options.