John Riccitiello will step down as Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors, effective March 30, EA has announced. The Board has appointed Larry Probst as Executive Chairman to ensure a smooth transition and to lead EA’s executive team while the Board conducts a search for a permanent CEO. The Board will consider internal and external candidates with the assistance of a leading executive search firm.
Mr. Probst has played a leadership role at EA since 1991. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Board since 1994, he previously served as the Company’s CEO from 1991 to 2007 when Riccitiello took over. As CEO, Probst successfully grew the Company’s annual revenues from $175 million to approximately $3 billion, led EA into new platforms such as mobile, online and other emerging markets and expanded its international presence to more than 75 countries.
While EA has been under some major scrutiny lately for its horribly handled launch of SimCity, most people in the industry were extremely surprised to hear the news that Riccitiello was leaving. It will be interesting to see who EA ends up appointing to lead them into the next generation of gaming.