Electronic Arts elevates EA Sports boss Andrew Wilson to CEO spot
Electronic Arts has appointed Andrew Wilson as CEO, concluding a six-month search to replace John Riccitiello, who stepped down in March after six years at the gaming giant's helm.
Wilson joined Electronic Arts in 2000 and most recently served as executive vice president overseeing the company's EA Sports unit and Origin digital gaming portal. "Andrew is the first studio executive to serve as our CEO, a testament to his blend of creative skills and business acumen," EA Executive Chairman Larry Probst said in a blog post announcing the Wilson hire. "He is a compelling and charismatic communicator who cares deeply about organizational development, teams, and the individual careers of people who work for EA. Most of all, he has a powerful sense of respect for and commitment to our consumers." Probst said he will continue to serve as executive chairman for an indefinite period.
Wilson is charged with steering EA's ongoing efforts to rebound from financial missteps made under Riccitiello: The company lost close to two-thirds of its market value in the period after he assumed the CEO mantle in April 2007. EA reported its fiscal first quarter earnings this past July, narrowing losses to $121 million compared to $130 million in the year-ago quarter and increasing revenues to $495 million, well above guidance of $450 million. Mobile and handheld digital revenue leaped 30 percent year-over-year to $103 million, with smartphones and tablets accounting for $90 million of that total, up 73 percent year-over-year.
"We have made strong progress in the first half of the fiscal year, establishing financial discipline and continuing to create a slate of fantastic games for current and next-generation consoles, mobile and PC," Wilson wrote in his own blog post. "But now we've got to finish the job--execute in Q3 and Q4 and deliver on the promises we made to our fans and our shareholders."
EA's mobile portfolio includes the blockbusters The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Real Racing 3. Its much-anticipated freemium title Plants vs. Zombies 2 launched on Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS last month, generating 25 million downloads in two weeks. For the first time ever, Apple now ranks as EA's biggest retail partner measured by sales.
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