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EA “not at all weakened” by executive departures, says Riccitiello

Friday, 9th March 2012 18:00 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

EA CEO John Riccitiello said the firm isn’t shaky after the departures of COO John Schappert and interactive head Barry Cottle for Zynga, and in fact, he implied that due to the huge offers made to the duo by the social games firm, he harbors no ill-will over it.

Speaking during a Q&A session at Wedbush’s Technology Media and Telecommunications Conference yesterday, Riccitiello also said the firm had “absolutely no issues” with CFO Eric Brown, who resigned in February after serving in the position for close to three years.

“He wants to be and will be a CEO in his life,” said Riccitiello. “He had an ambition he wanted to realize, couldn’t realize it in the timeframe that was close to his ambition.

“We understood that sometime last year, and he found what he was looking for and I’m really happy for him.”

He went on to say that Cottle and Schappert’s departures had more to do with the amount of money Zynga was willing to pay to each.

“[Some] came and saw me at one point in the process, usually in tears or close to tears, with a story that basically goes like this: ‘I love my company. I love Electronic Arts. I bleed blue, but they’re going to give me a bank account in the first 12 or 24 months that I couldn’t get anywhere and may never get anywhere for the rest of my life’,” Riccitiello explained.

“It was more about personal balance sheet stuff. To a person, they’ve told me ā€“ and I think if you speak to them, would probably say they believe in the Electronic Arts story and sort of where it’s going. I don’t feel at all weakened by it. … They got some good guys, and I think we’re fine.”

Thanks, Gamasutra.

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