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CEO John Riccitiello Leaving EA By End Of March

by Jeff Cork on Mar 18, 2013 at 10:45 AM

EA has announced that CEO John Riccitiello will be stepping down from the leadership position and the company's board of directors March 30. He will be temporarily replaced by executive chairman Larry Probst, who was CEO at EA from 1991 to 2007, when Riccitiello took the post.

"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. "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."

Probst will take on Riccitiello's duties until a permanent replacement is discovered.

"EA is an outstanding company with creative and talented employees, and it has been an honor to serve as the company's CEO," Riccitiello said. "I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and after six years 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 – there is a world-class team driving the company's transition to the next-generation of game consoles."

The transition from current-gen hardware to the next generation is bound to be a challenging one for large companies such as EA. Players have come to expect AAA experiences from them, and it's an expensive proposition on familiar hardware. The company has also learned some expensive lessons from its Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO and its attempts to crack the mobile- and casual-gaming spaces. EA is a public company first and foremost, and if stockholders aren't getting the returns they expect, heads roll.