March 18, 2013
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA ) is losing its chief executive. John Riccitiello will leave his post, as well as his seat on the board of directors, effective March 30. The company has tapped board chairman Larry Probst to assume his duties on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is found.
Riccitiello has been CEO for six years. In EA's press release announcing the move, the company quoted him as saying: "I feel it is the right time for me pass the baton and let new leadership take the company into its next phase of innovation and growth. I remain very optimistic about EA's future."
In a resignation letter filed with the SEC, Riccitiello said his decision to step down was a tough one, 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."
Riccitiello will receive 24 months of salary continuation, according to an SEC filing.
Probst has been in the top executive seat before, having served as CEO from 1991 to 2007. He has been the company's chairman of the board since 1994.