EA execs turn down bonuses, add $5.5m to company incentive pot

EA execs turn down bonuses, add $5.5m to company incentive pot

The top bods at publishing giant Electronic Arts have turned down their bonus pay for the 2019 fiscal year.

That's according to the company's DEF14A filing with the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission - a record of shareholder votes - in which the company said that it hadn't met the mark when it came to its financial performance, so it wasn't going to accept its bonus pay. What's more, the firm has decided to add this sum to the company's overall bonus pool.

How much cash has been added, exactly? Well looking at the aforementioned filing, the total amount that EA boss Andrew Wilson (pictured), CFO Blake Jorgensen, chief technology officer Ken Moss, marketing chief Chris Bruzzo and now-departed chief design officer Patrick Söderlund were going to land if they hit their targets was a tight $5,510,474.

"Given the Company’s 2019 financial performance, and in order to maintain alignment with our pay-for-performance executive compensation philosophy, our CEO and his staff (including the NEOs) requested that they receive no performance cash bonus award for fiscal 2019," the company wrote.

"The Board (in the case of Mr. Wilson) and the Compensation Committee (in the case of the other NEOs) accepted this request. The bonus funding that would have been allocated to our CEO and his staff (including the NEOs) were contributed to the overall Company bonus pool. While we are disappointed with our fiscal 2019 results, we understand the challenges we face, and we will continue to focus on how we can apply the strengths of our Company to capitalise on our opportunities."

While EA execs giving their bonus pay to their employees makes for a good headline, it's worth pointing out that the top bods are paid a massive amount compared to their staff. Per SEC regulations since 2014, companies have to report how much their CEOs earn compared to the median salary of their employees. For the 2019 fiscal year, EA CEO Andrew Wilson earned $18.2m in total compensation, compared to its median employee salary, which was $91,661. That's a ratio of 200:1.

Wilson said last week that he still has faith in BioWare despite its less-than-stellar few years and that he is thinking about that studio's sci-fi RPG title Anthem on a "seven-to-ten" year scale - which is rather refreshing compared to the more brutal EA we've seen in the past. 

The company has been in its fair share of hot water in the last few years, too, and just last week was pulled in front of a Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport select committee in the UK to answer questions about everything from addiction to video games, safeguarding consumers and loot boxes - sorry - 'surprise mechanics'. 

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.


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