EA exec takes home £20 million in salary after laying off 670 developers

Andrew Wilson got a tidy little bonus last year (Cody Pickens)

The boss of EA got a £4 million bonus last year, for launching EA Sports FC, at the same time as he was laying off hundreds of developers.

It’s just an ordinary Monday today and already we’ve had three stories about industry layoffs, with Embracer Group shutting down Alone In The Dark developer Pisces Interactive, Wizard With A Gun developer Galvanic Games announcing it’s closing down, and Hi-Fi Rush maker Tango Gameworks sharing some final photos of its studio before its closure.

It’s been like this for over year now, with well over 10,000 developers having lost their jobs in the last 12 months. And yet that’s not because any of the publishers that own them are doing badly, in fact quite the contrary.

Despite having laid off over 670 developers earlier in the year, EA has revealed that its top execs earned $60 million (£47.3m) between them over the last financial year, with CEO Andrew Wilson earning a staggering $25.6 million (£20.2m) all on his own.

Wilson’s pay packet works out at $1.3 million (£1.0m) in basic salary (how does he get by on just that?), $20 million (£15.8m) in stock options, £3.44 million (£2.7m) from a non-equity incentive plan, and $500,000 (£394,000) of ‘personal security benefits.’

That’s £3.9 million more than Wilson earned last year, as according to the report, highlighted by Game Developer, he hit all his ‘key strategic and operating objectives’ and oversaw the successful launch of the EA Sports FC brand, after ditching the FIFA licence.

From a certain point of view, you could argue that an increase was deserved, except Wilson also oversaw 670 job cuts, despite the fact that the publisher is doing extremely well.

It’s a similar story for many publishers, from Microsoft to Take-Two, who know that cutting staff is an easy way to show profit growth, even if it’s simply because they didn’t have to spend as much on salaries that year (except for all the execs, of course).

Ironically, Wilson was also praised for ‘a year of continued employee satisfaction scores above industry benchmarks.’ Which presumably didn’t include the people he laid off.

The average employee pay at EA last year was $148,704 (£117,221). That’s not a useful figure though as it’s heavily skewed by the pay given to execs, and almost all actual developers earned far less than that. Even so, Wilson still managed to take home over 172 times more than the average worker.

The second highest earning EA exec was President of EA Entertainment, Technology & Central Development Laura Miele, who earned over $12 million (£9.5 million), while third was Mala Singh on $6.9 million (£5.4m). Her job is Chief People Officer, so presumably her workload got significantly easier recently, on account of having far fewer people to officiate over.

At least EA Sports FC 24 sold well (Electronic Arts)

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