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Major Leadership Changes At EA Reveal An Organization In Flux

by Mike Futter on Sep 25, 2013 at 01:17 AM

A new memo has leaked out of EA revealing even more changes at the top of the company's organizational structure. As we reported yesterday, president of EA Labels Frank Gibeau and former executive vice president of that division, Patrick Söderlund, have new roles. The shifts go far deeper, though.

In a memo that was sent to staff, the earlier reported changes have been confirmed (except for the executive leading the Origin digital distribution platform). In addition to Gibeau taking over mobile and Söderlund leading EA Sports, head of Maxis Lucy Bradshaw has been elevated and will report directly to Andrew Wilson.

There is information missing from the document that deserves attention. It is unclear if Peter Moore is still the chief operating officer. The memo says that he "continues to lead our global publishing and marketing organizations," but our understanding of his responsibilities as the COO is (or was) much broader.

We have reached out to EA for clarification on Moore and Gibeau's current titles, the state of EA Labels as an entity given the promotion of Bradshaw to a direct report, and the status of the other individuals mentioned in the memo covering legal, human resources, and finance.

EA did not respond to our request for comment yesterday, and we'll update this story should we hear back on our second inquiry.

[Source: GamesBeat]


Our Take
There are a number of alarming elements of this memo and the changes reflected in it. While EA was largely unwilling to comment about the impact of its series of layoffs and closures throughout the earlier part of 2013 (reiterating one vague statement over and over again), we were able to piece together a systematic paring down of the mobile and social businesses.

Putting Frank Gibeau in charge of a segment that has been scaled back and will likely play far less of a role in the success of EA than the AAA titles he was in charge of before can only be seen as a demotion. Furthermore, elevating Maxis' Lucy Bradshaw, who was responsible for one of the most significant PR disasters at EA in recent history sends the wrong message altogether. 

The most alarming segment of the memo though deals with Peter Moore. While we were all surprised that he wasn't the internal candidate of choice for the CEO role, it's hard to believe that he couldn't have had it if he wanted it. If it was his choice not to take the throne, then removing him from his role as COO is folly. 

Yes, he was part of the Riccitiello leadership team, but he also represents significant institutional memory and is well-liked in the industry. He would serve Wilson well as an advisor, and removing Moore from power will breed confusion internally and among investors.

These are significant shifts, and I expect that there is a related SEC filing that has yet to surface. We are watching this situation very closely, as this memo will likely represent the first of many changes at the top of EA's organizational structure.