NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – John Riccitiello, president and chief operating officer of Electronic Arts, has resigned from the company to open a new venture capital fund.
EA, the gaming industry's largest independent publisher, announced his departure Wednesday after the market closed. Riccitiello will remain with the company for what is likely to be a short interim period.
CEO Larry Probst will assume Riccitiello's responsibilities on an interim basis. EA said it has begun evaluating internal and external candidates to assume Riccitiello's responsibilities.
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"This is a case of someone who led a team to the top if the industry and wants a new challenge," said EA spokesperson Jeff Brown. "John has made EA one of the top performers in the entertainment industry."
Riccitiello, on holiday with his family, could not be reached for comment.
Riccitiello will partner with Roger McNamee to create a new venture capital fund focusing on technology and entertainment. McNamee has a long history in the VC area, co-founding Integral Capital Partners and Silver Lake, the first private equity fund to focus on the technology industry.
McNamee has invested in several high-profile companies, including Amazon (AMZN: Research, Estimates), Cisco (CSCO: Research, Estimates), Seagate (STX: Research, Estimates) and Datek.
Riccitiello joined EA in October 1997. Prior to that he served as president and CEO of Sara Lee's worldwide bakery division.
EA (ERTS: Research, Estimates) shares closed slightly lower today, but has hit a 52-week high three times since the beginning of April.