EA has just sent along word that CEO John Riccitiello has stepped down after six years as head executive and an overall 13-year career with the publishing giant. Board Chairman and former CEO Larry Probst acts as interim leader until the company finds a permanent replacement.
"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," Riccitiello says in EA's press release. "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 platforms."
In a letter sent to EA employees, Riccitiello explains the reasons for his departure, writing, "My decision to leave EA is really all about my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year. It currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. And for that, I am 100 percent accountable."
Riccitiello's time at EA was marked highs and lows. He helped shift EA's focus to digital content over packaged products, launching the Origin storefront in mid-2011 as a first-party provider of EA's game stable. He also presided over the massively funded Star Wars: The Old Republic during its development at BioWare. The last major title launch he oversaw, SimCity, earned headlines for its always-online DRM , design flaws , and mixed reviews . The company also took a publicity hit when Consumerist readers voted it the worst company in America for 2012 .
"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 says. "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."