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8th July 2021

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EA CEO search back to "square one" - Pachter

Wedbush analyst says Don Mattrick had been a "front-runner" for the EA job, but now EA will have to start over

Newly appointed Zynga chief Don Mattrick may not have come directly from Electronic Arts (like some other Zynga staff), but Zynga's gain may have been EA's loss anyway. Not only is Mattrick an EA veteran, but it's believed that EA had been strongly considering Mattrick for the CEO seat left vacant by John Riccitiello. In a note published today, Wedbush Securities' analyst Michael Pachter said Mattrick was a "front-runner" for the EA job.

"EA presents a different challenge from Zynga, with over 4x the revenue and significantly higher profitability, and we think that the company is largely on the right track already. We were surprised that Mr. Mattrick took the Zynga job.. we believed that the larger company presented a more prestigious opportunity," Pachter said.

"Now that Mr. Mattrick has taken the job at Zynga, EA is back to square one in its search. We believe that the company will find few qualified candidates outside the company, and will ultimately choose between the top two internal candidates, COO Peter Moore and EVP Frank Gibeau. Both men are capable of running EA, in our opinion, and investors would respond favorably to either being appointed."

It's unclear when EA will make a decision on its CEO position. In the meantime, executive chairman Larry Probst continues to act as interim CEO, handling the day-to-day responsibilities. As for Mattrick and Zynga, Pachter is confident that investors will be very pleased in the near future. "Mr. Mattrick has the skills and experience required to manage a large organization, and we believe he will right-size Zynga staffing levels in order to allow the company to become profitable almost immediately," he said.

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Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry

8th July 2021

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Latest comments (10)

Sean Kauppinen Founder & CEO, IDEA7 years ago
@Pachter - all accounts say that Mattrick was not in the running weeks before E3. It's not back to square one in the back halls.
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It would seem that the ill conceived analysis are being leaked regarding the EA situation for those valuable column inches of credibility!

In suggesting that Mattrick was ever in the running seems to ignore that the individual that retired from EA under a cloud, and was six years into his tenure at MS and some five months away from critical evaluation of his tutorship of the division in his charge, jumps ship!

EA investors must be concerned that while the corporations studios have been purged of staff the executive corridors would seem even more bloated with highly paid suits. In the face of serious debt, the needs for effective leadership will have to work hard in a short period to restructure a online presence, redress the sports division and reaffirm the AAA title portfolio. Looking around the industry, investors will see Sony and MS undertaking major restructuring plans that will completely change the way future console publishing business is carried out - removing a whole bloated tire of executives that will be flooding the job market.

Any new combatant into the CEO position will have to come in wielding a scalpel - and the current executive pool are adamant on protecting their retirement plans, and could prove obstinate to the max to secure their place in the sun. Redressing previous management decisions will prove a minefield of egos and incompetence. The ghosts of the 1993 debacles to fix the leaky ship of state at EA coming back to haunt - and obvious questions on the true value of the current management teams.

Its hard to offer an authoritarian observation on the skill sets needed, when so little of what drives the search for a EA CEO is known. The company has made some "unusual" selections over the years and seems to have a requirement for an individual that has association with certain of its executives, but also has links with certain studios (not unsurprisingly). More over it is not known if ability, experience or the opportunity to "grow into the role" drives the selection process?

Avoiding being stabbed in the back - and an ability to address a painful debt will be high on many an investors wish list!
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 7 years ago
It was very careless of them to lose Kristian Segerstrale.

Don Mattrick is going to earn a lot more money at Zynga than at EA. Also it is a far more dynamic company that has a far better idea of where it is going and what the customer wants than EA does. At Zynga Mattrick will be able to achieve.

I'm available. But I would bring radical change. EA needs to be much more customer focussed and much more efficient. Their chief to Indian ratio is silly. I believe in flat hierarchies. Also they need to concentrate on fewer, bigger properties. Nearly 1,000 iOS apps is just silly. Especially as EA are being out grossed by SuperCell who have just 2 apps.
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Show all comments (10)
Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 7 years ago
Here is a potential candidate with lots of game CEO experience:
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Isaac Kirby Studying Computer Games Development, University of Central Lancashire7 years ago
@ Tom
It is always a shame when people in your industry are made redundant, the most horrid term i have had used in a company is a "Headcount Readjustment" - Sounds like something an efficient sniper might call his job.
It is when industry becomes top heavy with well paid higher ups you wish they took the old Ben n Jerries approach; That the Highest paid employee could not earn more than 7 times the amount of the lowest paid. Maybe then they would retain a sense of "one-ness" with the employees better.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Isaac Kirby on 3rd July 2013 12:14pm

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I would love the next EA CEO to be able to create new dynamic IP, whilst establishing a good lineup of existing IP, allowing for a rotation of solid hitters throughout the years
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Looking at the parallels between the 3DO universe of 1993, against the XBO universe in 2013 - and I am struck that the complaints from investors regarding Activision and EA seem identical to the comments from twenty years ago. By any law of business a corporation should not be able to survive with this level of debt and executive over staffing! How do they do this? Well Infogrames and Take2 failed to continue, I wonder if EA and Activision can?

Anyway - as Bruce has started a process to propose names for the vacant EA CEO role - I propose Jim Sterling
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Axel Cushing Freelance Writer 7 years ago
I propose myself. I can't see how I'd do any worse than the last guy.
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Its bad form to promote ones self :)
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Andreia Quinta Photographer, Studio52 London7 years ago
We believe that the company (...) will ultimately choose between the top two internal candidates, COO Peter Moore and EVP Frank Gibeau
I don't think Investors will be thrilled about that if they have 2 fingers of forehead, but I wouldn't know, not being a suit an' all. But it seems to me that picking someone from their own plate would be a case of "boiling frog syndrome". Either of them is too deep in 'it' to realize what's wrong with EA.
EA needs someone from the outside to even hope of recovering.
we believe he will right-size Zynga staffing levels
Such an endearing way to address people with families and mortgages...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andreia Quinta on 4th July 2013 1:59pm

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