I don’t know whether it’s fear of stagnation or fear of the perception of it, but publically-trading games corporations don’t seem to promote from within very often. EA’s Peter Moore is from Xbox. Xbox’s Don Mattrick is from EA. And is now at Zynga. It sort of goes on like that.
So it’s testament to the faith EA have in their current course that after a six month search, the company’s board has installed EA Sportsman Andrew Wilson as their new master and commander.
“The rigorous search conducted by our Board included several talented executives from both outside the company and from within EA,” said executive chairman and former CEO Larry Probst on the decision. “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.”
Wilson struck a similar tone of determination and reassurance in his own statement.
“I envision EA as the World’s Greatest Games Company,” he said. “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.”
In short: don’t brace yourselves, folks. This ship’s not turning. Not yet, anyway: Wilson has pledged to complete the company’s plan for this fiscal year. Beyond that, he’s laid out three key areas of progression: “continued transformation for our digital future”; “delivering amazing games and services across platforms”; and “instilling a culture of execution that will drive profitable growth”.
Wilson joined EA in 2000, and is the first in the company’s history to rise from studio exec to CEO. He’ll earn $800,000 a year – about four-fifths of predecessor John Riccitiello’s salary – but will likely more than double that in bonuses and stock options.
Honestly, I’m using to sighing and drifting off to twiddle my phone when Wilson starts talking. As executive VP of EA’s most yawningly iterative division, he’s this year been responsible for the least interesting segment of Microsoft’s Redmond Xbox reveal:
And again at E3 – though this is quite an introduction:
But gosh – he looks a bit young to be CEO, doesn’t he? By the end of his six-year reign,Riccitiello looked like a cardboard cutout of Steve Buscemi, held together by bits of tape.