The dinner table may be set at Electronic Arts but the guest list seems to be changing. After naming former Ticketmaster CEO John Pleasants as COO last week, today the company announced the surprise departure of Chief Financial Officer Warren Jenson. For now, a replacement isn’t officially being named but that news is expected to come relatively soon.
In the interim, under a transition agreement (available here), Jenson has signed to remain on board through September. He’ll retain his CFO title and continue to oversee financial reporting until his replacement is named. At that point, he’ll report to the new CFO as a “Special Adviser.” He’ll remain in that role until he either accepts a new job elsewhere or the agreement expires on September 30th, whichever comes first.
With EA in the middle of a multi billion dollar hostile takeover of rival Take Two Interactive, the timing of the announcement is curious and sure to raise eyebrows and questions. Already, there is some speculation that Jenson’s departure is the result of differing opinions on acquisition strategy or the broader long term strategy for the company.
Either bit of speculation could turn out to be true, or neither. It is also equally plausible that his statement that it was "time for me to write the next chapter in my career" is all there is to it; that he simply wanted a new challenge (however odd the timing).
The departure announcement didn’t provide insight or comment on either the company or Jenson’s reasons, nor did its language hint at who chose the timing. Instead, the press announcement only acknowledged that the transition was a mutual decision.
As a side note, Jenson’s tenure at EA was far longer than any of his three prior jobs. He joined EA in 2002 as CFO. Before taking the post, he was the CFO at Amazon from 1999 to 2002. From 1998 to 1999 he was CFO at Delta Airlines.
••CBS MOBILE SHAKEUP••
In other industry moves, CBS Interactive is also changing things up. Cyriac Roeding, who had been executive VP of CBS Mobile since starting the division in 2005, has decided to leave the post.
The official word is he’s looking for a new entrepreneurial challenge.
In a statement, CBS Interactive President Quincy Smith, graciously thanked Roeding for his contributions saying, “Cyriac has built what is arguably the most innovative and aggressive mobile division in all of media and he should be credited with not only putting CBS Mobile on the map and creating a profitable, fast-growing organization, but also for being a change agent in the industry.”
Jeff Sellinger, who also joined the division in 2005 and had been SVP of CBS Mobile since December, will take Roeding’s place at the helm. His new title will be Executive Vice President and General Manager.
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•Soundoff: Executive Soundbytes on “Content”