Electronic Arts CEO stepping down (Update: Larry Probst to replace Riccitiello as CEO)

john_riccitielloThere isn’t a whole lot of information out on this one yet, but it appears that EA CEO John Riccitiello is stepping down from Electronic Arts.

This is a developing story, we’ll keep you updated as more info comes out.


Source: Gamesutra


A bit more of the fog of war has cleared, and according an investor report on EA’s website, Riccitiello will be replaced by Larry Probst. Probst has been an executive at EA for a while, serving as Chairman of the Board, CEO, and company President in various turns since 1991.  Details of Probst’s salary haven’t been agreed upon, according to the report.

The report also details Riccitiello’s severance, which includes:

  • 24 months of salary continuation;
  • up to 18 months of COBRA continuation coverage payment reimbursement (provided he elects and remains eligible for COBRA);
  • continued vesting of his unvested options until November 30, 2013 as though he remained employed by the Company through such date, and all vested options, including those that vest on or before November 30, 2013 will remain exercisable until February 28, 2014; and
  • continued vesting of all time-based restricted stock units that would vest on or before June 19, 2014 as though he remained employed by the Company through such date. All performance-based restricted stock units that are based on the Company’s Total Shareholder Return (“ TSR ”) relative to the companies in the Nasdaq100 Index at the end applicable performance periods as set forth in the relevant restricted stock unit grant agreements and that would vest on or before June 19, 2014 will vest to the extent that the aggregate TSR performance metrics are satisfied for such restricted stock units for performance periods that end on or before June 19, 2014. Any such performance-based restricted stock units for which the applicable TSR performance metrics are not satisfied shall be forfeited to the Company.

There’s a lot of legalese in there, but unless my analysis is mistaken, it breaks down like this: EA will pay Riccitiello for another two years, will pay for Riccitiello’s health insurance for 18 months, and will allow him to keep his  stocks and options for another year or so.

Giant Bomb got a hold of Riccitiello’s resignation letter, which you can read below.

March 17, 2013

Mr. Larry Probst

Chairman Electronic Arts

Dear Larry,

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.


/s/ John Riccitiello

John Riccitiello


Source: Giant Bomb


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