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You Won't Have John Riccitiello to Kick Around Anymore

EA's beleaguered CEO has stepped down from the company.

The now former EA CEO John Riccitiello.

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has stepped down from his role in the company, the publisher announced today.

In his place, current board chairman and former CEO Larry Probst has stepped up to man the company as the board searches for Riccitiello's replacement.

The announcement came in the form of a press release (which can be read in full here) in which Probst thanked Riccitiello for his efforts, but stated that the two "mutually agreed that this is the right time for a leadership transition."

Riccitiello's departure is an intriguing, but not unexpected one. The now former CEO had come under some scrutiny after several big budget EA projects--including the $200 million sinkhole that was Star Wars: The Old Republic--failed to meet expectations.

We've reached out for further comment from EA. We'll update this story if/when more becomes available.

Here's his full resignation letter, per an SEC filing:

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.

Sincerely,

/s/ John Riccitiello

John Riccitiello

Alex Navarro on Google+
270 Comments
Posted by RoyCampbell

Catch you later, John Ricearoni- err, John Tortellini.

Posted by Vermy81

As much as people love to hate EA now I would honestly take the output over the last few years under Riccitello compared with the previous few years under Larry Probst.

I mean make no mistake, there were a lot of shitty decisions by Electronic Arts under his tenure but the fact of the matter is unlike the previous administration it seemed like they were trying. They put out risky games and they failed. Then they tried to copy what was popular and failed a bit at that too. They made a lot of people angry along the way, but if we remember the EA of 2005 it was pretty grim.

Edited by EvilNiGHTS

Can't help but feel that this'll only make things worse for the way EA operates in future. Throughout the first half of his tenure Riccitiello pushed for new and interesting titles, only to find the guys insisting that was what they wanted oddly didn't bother to show up when the actual games got released.

Posted by Xaviersx

He's going to run Simcity . . . once he gets a persistent internet connection and a large enough plot.

Posted by Droop

Why is signing off with /s/? All I could think off was 4chan /s/

Posted by Efesell

That is a good resignation letter.

Anyway, looking forward to no meaningful change whatsoever.

Posted by Enigma777

People love to hate on Johnny R., but do you remember how fucking abysmal EA was before he came on board? Cause I sure as hell do.

He gave us Dead Space, Dragon Age, Mass Effect and BF Bad Company 2. I, for one, will miss you John.

Edited by Deusx

Matt Rorie for EA CEO.

Edited by paulunga

Thanks for giving us Skate, Mirror's Edge, Burnout Paradise and Dead Space. Sucks that having interesting games didn't work out for EA in the long run.

Posted by Dagbiker

Jonny boy was not the problem.

Posted by golguin

I can respect taking responsibility for your decisions. Too many people are always quick to lay blame wherever else they can.

Posted by pyrodactyl

The Riccitiello death clock finaly rung

Edited by AMyggen

edit

Edited by Generiko

People love to hate on Johnny R., but do you remember how fucking abysmal EA was before he came on board? Cause I sure as hell do.

He gave us Dead Space, Dragon Age, Mass Effect and BF Bad Company 2. I, for one, will miss you John.

Mass Effect wasn't made by EA, it wasn't even funded by them.

Edited by davo

Doesn't really matter who's CEO of EA. They can do no right, apparently.

Posted by walterbennet

As far as CEOs go, Riccitiello always struck me as a pretty earnest guy. Still, it's well past time for him to move on...

Enter, the future—Jeff Green's last name is a synonym for money, AND he's Jewish! They'd be losing money not to choose him as successor. He's the right candidate for the right time.

Posted by Enigma777

@generiko said:

@enigma777 said:

People love to hate on Johnny R., but do you remember how fucking abysmal EA was before he came on board? Cause I sure as hell do.

He gave us Dead Space, Dragon Age, Mass Effect and BF Bad Company 2. I, for one, will miss you John.

Mass Effect wasn't made by EA, it wasn't even funded by them.

But 2+3 were. When I say ME or DA, I mean the whole franchise.

Posted by Efesell

@generiko said:

@enigma777 said:

People love to hate on Johnny R., but do you remember how fucking abysmal EA was before he came on board? Cause I sure as hell do.

He gave us Dead Space, Dragon Age, Mass Effect and BF Bad Company 2. I, for one, will miss you John.

Mass Effect wasn't made by EA, it wasn't even funded by them.

And also Dragon Age was well into development by the time the Bioware deal came about, so probably not a ton going into that either.

Posted by IcarusFoundYou

I'm not sure how to feel about this. Part of me is happy that EA (or it's shareholders rather) is taking steps to repair it's image. Part of me is also terrified of what direction EA might take next.

Posted by Whiteycar

I am surprised his resignation letter didn't have a micro-transaction in it.

Posted by Baltimore

Damn didn't expect to see this today. But considering what EA has been through in the past few years it's not a huge surprise. But between Geoff Green and Peter Moore...I think Moore would win in a wrestling cage match.

Edited by the_dead_parrot

I love it how he used the term "FY14" he is so EA he makes everything sound like their sports franchises

Posted by Efesell

@generiko said:

@enigma777 said:

People love to hate on Johnny R., but do you remember how fucking abysmal EA was before he came on board? Cause I sure as hell do.

He gave us Dead Space, Dragon Age, Mass Effect and BF Bad Company 2. I, for one, will miss you John.

Mass Effect wasn't made by EA, it wasn't even funded by them.

But 2+3 were. When I say ME or DA, I mean the whole franchise.

And then they were kind of responsible for knocking the wind out of DA2 with the dev cycle given.

I mean I still really liked it, but it was not the product it should have been.

Posted by Ravenlight

I am surprised his resignation letter didn't have a micro-transaction in it.

The real tragedy is that it took two pages for someone to make this joke. Well done, sir!

Posted by Ketchupp

Hey! I'm looking for a new job!

Posted by RollingZeppelin

I'm not gonna shed a tear, the whole executive branch of EA and shove it as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by bledsoe9mm

its one thing to poison the well on niche games , but when your turning off a wide customer base to your company , its time to go before it gets any worse . had to stop the bleeding .

Edited by ChrisHarris

@paulunga said:

Thanks for giving us Skate, Mirror's Edge, Burnout Paradise and Dead Space. Sucks that having interesting games didn't work out for EA in the long run.

I know, people were excited about the new direction he was trying to take EA in at the time... until the economy went into the shitter, the gambles on new IPs weren't paying off, and they sank way too much money into The Old Republic. Then, the chosen one fell to the influence of the dark side. It was a sad sequence of events with some unfortunate timing.

Edited by Oscar__Explosion

Yes. He's just the guy to revitalize the image of EA into the digital future!

@snail said:
@mattyftm said:

JEFF GREEN FOR CEO!!!!!

This I can get behind. Screw the Peter Moore supporters.

Jeff Green for EA CEO 2013

I would be totally on board with this, but after what he was saying about teenage girls on the Tested Dadcast I don't think anyone would make him president of anything. (I still throw all my support at him nonetheless)

Posted by Sweep

Someone get Jeff motherfucking Green on the phone!

Moderator
Posted by LordAndrew

Real Racing 3 is nothing to be proud of.

Edited by Oscar__Explosion

I am surprised his resignation letter didn't have a micro-transaction in it.

BOOM!

Edited by Patman99

@zaccheus said:

$200 million... Old Republic was such a bad idea, in hindsight.

I think a Star Wars MMO has such huge expectations that they could never meet them fully. They should have done something a little smaller and then expand on it through expansions. Unfortunately, they went for the full monty and did not necessarily achieve it. The game was still fun though for about a month.

Edited by Oscar__Explosion
Posted by Baltimore

Anyone else notice how Riccitello has slowly been turning into Palpatine over the last few years?

Side note: I just told my wife the news (she used to love Maxis games) and her reaction was this: "They fucked up one game too many! Time to go Johnny Boy."

Posted by alternate

at least he will now have plenty of time to play Sim City.

Posted by Jayzilla

None of this really matters because the board is so hell bent on microtransactions and cash shop type features and always online functionality in their games which garners ZERO SUPPORT from consumers. There are no gamers who want this. Their brand is suffering because they are trying to tell us what we want. If they can prove they want to change in the next year or so, fine. Until then, they will still see me not buying their games.

Posted by Branthog

Don't worry, more forced-online games, crammed-in multi-player, season passes, excessive DLC, in-game micro-transactions, annualization of every game, games with nothing changed each year but the number in their title, and shitty launch experiences is all we need to really boost our revenue and keep this ship on the right course!

Also, why did he sign his email with a "/s/" sarcasm tag?

Edited by Efesell

@patman99 said:

@zaccheus said:

$200 million... Old Republic was such a bad idea, in hindsight.

I think a Star Wars MMO has such huge expectations that they could never meet them fully. They should have done something a little smaller and then expand on it through expansions. Unfortunately, they went for the full monty and did not necessarily achieve it. The game was still fun though for about a month.

It seems to be doing really well on its F2P model at least. An initial disappointment certainly but it's rebounding somewhat.

Posted by graboids

Posted by MEATBALL

Pretty shitty headline. But that's right, I'm on the Internet so I must hate EA and Riccitello.

Posted by Pop

Damn, I'm curious to see who the next guy is and hope he'll do awesome stuff with the company.

Edited by Zaccheus

@patman99 said:

@zaccheus said:

$200 million... Old Republic was such a bad idea, in hindsight.

I think a Star Wars MMO has such huge expectations that they could never meet them fully. They should have done something a little smaller and then expand on it through expansions. Unfortunately, they went for the full monty and did not necessarily achieve it. The game was still fun though for about a month.

That's a pretty damning thing to say about an MMO. Things were pretty different six years ago, only a truly crazy person would try anything like that now. I hope the Elder Scrolls MMO hasn't cost only a fraction of that.

Posted by Branthog

That's a classy resignation letter. Accepting the responsibility of EA's fiscal woes with certain projects rather than pointing the finger elsewhere is pleasantly surprising, given the way we as a society tend to point the finger anywhere but at ourselves.

I would say it's a pretty standard resignation letter, though it certainly beats the time when my CEO resigned via a smarmy trite haiku on twitter to all the world (and the ~40k employees), before bolting with his golden parachute after doing a reverse stock-split that backfired and lost 80% of the valuation in only one year (on a stock that had already lost 80% of its valuation before the reverse split!).

Posted by OfficeGamer

@pixeldemon said:

they need someone who acknowledges they have a serious public image problem and will take authentic steps to repair their brand.

here's hoping

Posted by Firrae

Anyone else notice that he didn't mention SimCity or Dead Space in the games he's proud of? Two of their biggest releases this year so far.

Edited by chose

It's all Sim City. Losing money is one thing, losing trust and confidence is everything.

Posted by das9000

@p_p_o_d: Haha, I tip my hat to you sir.

Posted by mrcraggle

@branthog: I'm pretty sure the /s/ means signed so it'd be his actual signature.