EA CEO Steps Down After Stock Dips and Criticism of Sequel-itis


As of April 2nd, Larry Probst, current CEO of Electronic Arts, will be stepping down and handing the title over to John Riccitello. Riccitello, an old-school EA’er is coming back after leaving his Chief Operations Officer and President job at EA in 2004 to co-found and manage his own venture capital firm called Elevation Partners. Probst will stay on with the company as the executive chairman of the board of directors.

Starting as CEO in 1991, Larry Probst has ran EA for the last 16 years, and has been said to rely too heavily on sequels. Though Riccitiello leaves his job as the managing partner for Elevation Partners, a venture capital firm with $1.9 billion worth of financing power, for the captain’s chair of this multimedia giant, he might not have an easy time. This year EA is tasked with releasing Spore, Will Wright’s latest social experiment that has wow’d the media at several events but has questionable sales potential.

Though an exciting proposition for Riccitiello, no doubt, what could be the cause behind Probst stepping down? Is there something that we haven’t seen that’s going on at EA? For a company that makes as much money as Electronic Arts does, why would the highly successful CEO step down after 16 years on the job? Last year we saw a few serious drops in EA’s stock price and one has to wonder if that doesn’t have something to do with Probst stepping down. Since opening this morning, the EA stock (ERTS) has dropped 1.23 points from 53.19 to a current 51.96.


Michael W. Nelson

I have an awsome and fresh new idea for an online game for EA. you said above that the last few games have not been so good. I bet ya this new idea i have could win so many awards, and it would draw in millions of kids from around the world. I am so confident in this new idea i have would work. The best part about it is you have already done some of the work already! You guys over at EA spawned my idea. From reading about your ceo crises, it sounds like you guys need a fresh new video game on the shelves for people to buy. i would love to talk more about this with somebody there and even get involved in it. talk to ya soon!


I am a big fan of The Sims, but am always annoyed that EA is so stingy when it came to providing content – in terms of couches, wallpaper, appliances for Sims. Then 2 months later, they would come out with an expansion pack full of “stuff”. Examples of this are the Family Fun Stuff, Glamor Stuff….

John McCoy

This man was not a visionary, he created the same game over and over again while pumping up the graphics. One good move that I can think of was acquiring Mythic while they are working on Warhammer Online. A working or at least fun and playable MMOG was beyond this company with this man at the lead, several tries and several failures means a loss to this company of millions. His time past a while back.

Mark S

Larry did an incredible job at EA. Personally, I think a CEO shouldn’t stay much beyond 10 years anyway. To continually provide the vision, direction, enthusiasm, etc for 16 years is a testimony to this man’s excellence. He made a *lot* of good moves during his tenure including the sequels which, though not glamorous, are incredibly important to a game company.

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