EA board stands behind Riccitiello
CEO admits concern for stock decline but looks to new market growth
The board of Electronic Arts has reiterated its support for CEO John Riccitiello, during a year that has seen the company's stock collapse.
Speaking during EA's annual meeting of stockholders, Larry Probst, chairman of the board and 24 year veteran of EA, said there were no plans to replace the CEO although the board does look at the long term future of the management team.
"The board has a very high level of confidence in John and the management team," he said. "They've done a really good job of actually exceeding their operating plan in the last two fiscal years. We think the strategy is spot on going forward and we have a high level of confidence that they will execute well against that strategy.
"After a couple of very, very turbulent, challenging times in the games industry, we're about to see another strong, positive performance"
John Riccitiello, EA
"That said, on a regular systematic basis we take a look at all of the senior management positions and talk about succession planning longer term. But at this point in time there is absolutely no plan to replace John as the CEO, we have a high level of confidence in both him and the management team."
During a presentation to the shareholders before the Q&A, Riccitiello admitted the decline in share price was a worry, but said shareholders were getting the wrong perception of the video game market by only seeing the stale console business.
"Our stock price has declined significantly, an area of concern for myself and the management team and the board," offered Riccitiello.
"There's a difference in perception of how we see the market and how some investors see the market." He pointed to the console business that "from approximately 2009 has been a market in decline."
"Digital, mobile, PC etcetera has been the growth marketplace and more recently a softening in the social market," he added. "Essentially they see us operating in not a growth industry, they see us operating in a flat industry. What I think they're missing is a multi-year understanding of trends and cycles of our business."
"Our view of the market is that after a couple of very, very turbulent, challenging times in the games industry, we're about to see another strong, positive performance."