Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello Steps Down

Michael Teague  |

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) CEO John Riccitiello announced his resignation late on Monday, ending a six-year run during which the company lost over half of its market value.

His departure comes as the company indicated that current-quarter results would likely miss forecasts, a possibility that has been widely attributed to game quality, personnel issues, and his inability to keep the company on par with intense competition from both free online games as well as other game manufacturers, all of which has translated into a decline in the company’s stock price.

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The most recent of the company’s failures came over the holiday season, during which sales of a heavily hyped “Medal of Honor: Warfighter” were about as disappointing as critical reviews of the game.  A 13th edition of the otherwise popular “NBA Live” basketball game had to be discontinued in m id-development, and EA’s attempt to lure away diehard fans of the near-cult favorite “World of Warcraft” with the release of “Star Wars: The Old Republic” flopped.

Furthermore, releases of sequels to otherwise hugely popular “Dead Space” and “Crysis” series were also lackluster in terms of both sales and reviews.

Much of this has been attributed to personnel issues, with many of the company’s top staff opting for new employment opportunities in the far more lucrative, if not trendy, online gaming word of Zynga (ZNGA), a company that has since had its own share of problems as of late.

Riccitiello’s letter of resignation was apologetic and he shouldered the blame, citing the company’s falling short of operational guidelines.  He will step down from his position on EA’s board on March 30th, and will be replaced by former CEO Larry Probst until a replacement is found.

The news bumped shares up just over 2.6 percent in late trading to $19.20, up from the day’s close of $18.71.

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