Riccitiello: mass-layoffs a painful necessity

Riccitiello: mass-layoffs a painful necessity

By Rob Crossley

December 10th 2009 at 9:43AM

â??None of the 1,500 people think they were the right people to be let go, and that hurtsâ?

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has for the first time revealed his frustration with the company’s move to axe 900 developer jobs, stating that the layoffs were a painful necessity.

“Look, no one likes layoffs – me either,” he told IndustryGamers. “But the people in the company, given a choice between a company that wallows in the dirt and one that makes hard aggressive moves to make it the market leader that it could be, they prefer the latter.”

EA announced last month it had acquired social game group Playfish for $300 million. On the same day it was revealed during the firm’s quarterly financial posting that 900 development jobs would be made redundant.

That number of affected employees rises to 1,500 when accounting for publishing and corporate jobs. The job cuts will save the firm around $100 million each year.

“None of the 1,500 people think they were the right people to be let go, and that hurts,” Riccitiello said.

“You just can't be that objective about your own individual job. I think everybody that remains, the vast majority of them understand the logic, they agree with it and support it and think we're a stronger company for the moves.”

Riccitiello went on to reveal his excitement with the firm’s aggressive push into the digital and direct-to-consumer space. He also spoke out against the ‘negative press’ surrounding the firm’s first half financial report.

“A lot of negative articles were written that entirely missed the point that we felt we had a great first half. We're cash flow positive, we're profitable, we're growing, and what we've chosen to do is a strategic step in the process of resetting our company to a different strategy,” he said.