It's not every day that you hear about executives declining bonuses but EA's CEO Andrew Wilson and his staff did exactly that on the back of the company's bad 2019 financials, with their 'contribution' to the company worth $4.8 million.
According to an SEC filing from 21 June, 2019, as dug up by GameDaily, the bonus was declined by Wilson, chief operating officer Blake Jorgensen, chief studios officer Laura Miele, chief technology officer Ken Moss and chief marketing officer Chris Bruzzo.
The filing reads, "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".
Instead of pocketing the funds, EA's head honchos invested the money back into the employee bonuses fund, and we're talking about $4.8 million, so it's not exactly pocket change.
If we're to wax ethical, EA's sacrifice is probably fitting, especially considering they've laid off 350 employees recently, although one cannot help but wonder whether some of that dough could've been used to keep some of them onboard.
Wilson told GameDaily, "I don't want to try to defend things, but it's the hardest decision you make as a leader, whether you're a leader of 10 people or 10,000 people it is the hardest decision you make".
He stressed that the decisions are based on two "core vectors" - long term stability of the company's business in a shifting world, and taking care of their employees.
Taking care of your employees also includes the laid off ones, and Wilson stressed these are extremely difficult decisions.
"How do we do that in the most human way possible? How do we work with them? How do we look after them? As a company, I think we do pretty good on both of those things, but again, I don't think there's anything I can say that makes it feel better for any of the people that are impacted in the process."
For the sake of transparency, it's worth mentioning that Wilson was included in the list of 100 Most Overpaid CEOs.
Wilson also discussed Anthem, insisting that the game suffered due to player expectations, where one group expected a narratively rich Bioware game, while others expected a live service title.
You can find Wilson's interview here.