04:51 PM - March 18, 2013 by MMChrisS
We're learning this afternoon that Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is stepping down from his position at Electronic Arts effective March 30. Publisher of Madden NFL Football, FIFA Soccer, NHL and several other sports titles, Electronic Arts is one of the biggest sports gaming companies on the planet and this could have definite impacts on our genre's future.
The company is tapping former CEO and current Chairman of the Board Larry Probst to oversee the transition to a new permanent CEO.
"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," Probst said in a press release issued this afternoon. "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 reasoning for the resignation appears to be that EA is expecting to fall well short of revenue guidelines.
In a letter to Probst, Riccitiello said, "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."
This transition in leadership comes at a time when EA is gearing up to take on a new generation of consoles amidst an expanding digital goods business, of which Riccitiello was a key driver and proponent of. EA's stock is up over 2.5% in after hours trading on the news.
Until we know of a replacement, we won't have an adequate idea as to what this means for EA's sports game lineup, if anything. We will update this story with additional details as they come available.
What do you think this means for EA Sports' future?