The lights are on
EA finally has a new CEO. After the resignation of John Riccitiello in March, the company has been searching for a new chief executive. That hunt is finally over with the appointment of Andrew Wilson, who previously headed up EA's sports division.
Wilson takes over for Larry Probst, who was filling the vacancy temporarily while the search was underway. After the closure of EA Partners, Wilson was also assigned responsibility of EA's digital platform, Origin. He has been with EA for more than 12 years, serving as the head of EA's online organization, the Seoul studio, and Asia online publishing. Before taking over the entire sports operation, Wilson was in charge of soccer, handling all of the different permutations of the FIFA series.
The full text of Wilson's statement follows:
Let me start by saying I am deeply honored and humbled to become EA’s CEO. I have a profound respect and passion for this organization, as well as for our global community of fans, and I’m incredibly motivated to serve our people, our gamers and our shareholders at such an exciting time in our industry.
From my start at EA in Australia back in 2000, through stops in Asia, Europe and now North America, I’ve worked with people in this company who have consistently amazed and inspired me. It’s my passion for our people and the great products we all impact that gives me such excitement for our future. I hope you all feel the same level of energy and optimism that I do as we embark on this journey together.
I envision EA as the World’s Greatest Games Company. This is not about what we are aiming for or what we will become. Rather, it is about an unfaltering commitment to what we will be every day. This is an attitude that must drive our culture as one team.
I also believe EA’s strategy is sound. Our focus on our talent, our brands and our platform together with our investment in next-generation consoles, mobile and PC free-to-play, as part of our ongoing transition to digital, is right. But we have plenty of work ahead to ensure our collective success.
In the short term, our mission is crystal clear: We are 100 percent focused on delivering our FY14 business plan. We have made strong progress in the first half of the fiscal year, establishing financial discipline and continuing to create a slate of fantastic games for current and next-generation consoles, mobile and PC. But now we’ve got to finish the job – execute in Q3 and Q4 and deliver on the promises we made to our fans and our shareholders.
Looking ahead, my focus will be on three things:
1. Continued transformation for our digital future;
2. Delivering amazing games and services across platforms; and
3. Instilling a culture of execution that will drive profitable growth.
In the days and weeks ahead, I will provide a greater level of operational detail behind the plan that will make these goals a reality.
I could not be more proud to lead you as CEO of EA. Thank you in advance for your support.
Additionally, SEC documents reveal that Wilson's annual salary will be $800,000 with a target bonus percentage of 150 percent. Wilson will also receive options for one million shares. Twenty-four percent will vest in November 2014, with another two percent vesting on the first day of each month for the following thirty-eight months. The stocks will be valued at the closing price on September 30, 2013, the close of the company's current quarter. Wilson is not under contract and will serve as an at-will employee.
Our TakeEA needs stable leadership after a tumultuous financial period. The company has been reorganizing under Probst's temporary leadership. With that came significant layoffs, especially in mobile and social. It will be interesting to watch EA step into this new era, which coincides with the biggest industry shift in eight years. The new consoles provide a significant opportunity for EA, especially as the business streamlines with two engines: Frostbite 3 and Ignite.
It bears mentioning that Wilson's annual base salary of $800,000 is the same as John Riccitiello's base salary was.
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