26th Sep 2013

Insider Andrew Wilson appointed CEO of EA

Electric Arts Inc (EA) – a pioneer of the early home computer games industry which was founded in 1982 - went on to become a global developer, publisher, marketer and distributer of video games. But like many, the videogame industry has been struggling to adjust to the mobile era. With consumers opting for free or cheap online games as opposed to the more expensive console titles, retail sales are falling - EA has been under pressure to maintain profitability.

In March, EA CEO John Riccitiello announced his retirement from the company he had worked for on and off, since 1997. Riccitiello was COO from 1997 to 2004 during which time EA became the world’s largest maker of video games. In 2007 he returned to the company as CEO, but he retired in 2013 as profits fell and projections were missed.

Following a six month search, last week EA announced sports and digital games division head Andrew Wilson as the new CEO of the company – to some surprise. More senior executives Peter Moore (COO) and Frank Gibeau (president of EA Labels) were both passed over in favour of Wilson. Executive Chairman Larry Probst explained that Wilson was appointed due to his "blend of creative skills and business acumen".

Australian Wilson, 39, has held several positions in EA since he joined the company in 2000. And his track record with EA is good - his division EA Sports developed profitable and reliable franchises such as FIFA and Madden.

In an interview Wilson explained that he is happy with the company’s current strategy "When I think about our vision for the future, we have a very strong strategy around the ongoing development of the most amazing teams in the world". He has further plans for expansion in emerging markets, and wants to continue developing free-to-play business models.

Wilson mentioned vision - and leadership success is all about having a strong vision. A First 100 Days Plan is the easiest and most effective way of clarifying this vision, and of facilitating success from day one. The optimal First 100 Days Plan will be a digest of the most important goals, with a clear route of how to achieve these goals. Wilson can expect to face many challenges during his first 100 days as CEO of EA, but he will make the strongest start possible with the help of a comprehensive and structured First 100 Days Plan.

Hilda Goold

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