Electronic Arts' exhaustive search for a new CEO led it to promote from within after all. The publisher today announced that executive VP of EA Sports Andrew Wilson is now the company's CEO, replacing the seat left vacant by John Riccitiello's resignation in March.
"I envision EA as the World's Greatest Games Company," Wilson said in a statement. "This is not about what we are aiming for or what we will become. Rather, it is about an unfaltering commitment to what we will be every day. This is an attitude that must drive our culture as one team.
"I also believe EA's strategy is sound. Our focus on our talent, our brands and our platform together with our investment in next-generation consoles, mobile and PC free-to-play, as part of our ongoing transition to digital, is right. But we have plenty of work ahead to ensure our collective success."
EA executive chairman (and a former CEO of the company himself) Larry Probst explained the appointment in his own statement.
"The rigorous search conducted by our Board included several talented executives from both outside the company and from within EA," Probst said. "Andrew's appointment is a clear demonstration of the deep bench of management talent at EA, and reflects our fundamental belief that EA is on track to become the global leader in interactive games and services."
Probst will also stay on as executive chairman for an undetermined length of time in order to assist Wilson with the transition to his new role.
Wilson joined EA in 2000, and has worked in a variety of roles for the company, both in the West and as part of its Asia Online Publishing Group. He was formerly the executive producer of the FIFA franchise, and is the first EA studio executive to climb to the position of CEO.
Changes may come, but in the meantime, Wilson said he is following through on the company's business plan for the current fiscal year. He also singled out three points he would focus on as he takes control at the publisher, "continued transformation for our digital future," "delivering amazing games and services across platforms," and "instilling a culture of execution that will drive profitable growth."
According to an SEC filing, Wilson will be paid a base salary of $800,000, with a target bonus salary 150 percent of that, in addition to stock options. According to information from EA's last two annual reports, Riccitiello was making a little over $1 million in base salary before he resigned. But between the bonus and equity compensation, that base salary accounted for just 9 percent of his total compensation in fiscal year 2012, Riccitiello's last full year before announcing his resignation.
No new head for EA Sports was named, and EA declined to comment on further organizational changes when asked by GamesIndustry International.