REDWOOD CITY, CA – Last week, Electronic Arts (NADAQ:EA) announced that Andrew Wilson, former chief of EA Sports, as CEO. With the move, Wilson will replace Larry Probst, who was serving as the company’s interim CEO.
In a statement on the company’s blog, Wilson stated that ‘I am deeply honored and humbled to become EA’s CEO. I have a profound respect and passion for this organization as well as for our global community of fans, and I’m incredibly motivated to serve our people, our gamers, and our shareholders at such an exciting time in our industry.’
One of the new initiatives that Wilson will pursue is the delivery of ‘amazing games’ across platforms, ‘instilling a culture of execution’ that creates profit, and the continuing transformation of EA into a more digital company.
The search for a new CEO started with John Riccitiello stepped down as the company’s CEO in March. According to interim-CEO Probst, ‘the rigorous search conducted by our board included several talented executives from both outside the company and from within EA. 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.’
As the director of EA Sports, Wilson oversaw a number of popular gaming franchises including Madden NFL Football. However, Wilson is taking over a company that is coming off a round of layoffs and cost cutting measures in an effort to refocus the organization on mobile technologies. At this point, company representatives would not confirm if there would be further layoffs.
The company has had a number for setbacks since the global financial crisis in 2009 and efforts to redirect the company towards multiplayer games and mobile has failed to gain traction. In December 2011, the company released the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Old Republic; however, the game failed to gain users under a pay-to-play model and has now been shifted to a free-to-play model.
While shares in the company reached a post-recession high in early-September they have trended downward since then, closing the week at $ 26.54 down from a high of $ 27.99. It would appear that the market is taking a cautious view, waiting to see what Electronic Arts’ strategy under Wilson will be and how that will affect results.