updated 9/3/2005 5:06:56 PM ET 2005-09-03T21:06:56

Electronic Arts, the world's biggest video-game publisher, announced a management shake-up on Friday after a year of missed targets and cancelled bonuses.

EA said Don Mattrick, president of Worldwide Studios, was being replaced with immediate effect by Paul Lee, its Studio chief operating officer.

Mr Mattrick, 41, is a veteran by games industry standards. He joined in 1991 when EA acquired his previous company, Distinctive Software. The company said he had "chosen to seek other opportunities outside of EA", but did not disclose what these were.

Larry Probst, EA chief executive, said David Gardner, a 23-year veteran at EA, would take over Paul Lee's role while Frank Gibeau, formerly head of North American marketing, would now be responsible for the North American publishing division. Gerhard Florin, head of European publishing, would expand his role to cover Asia.

"These promotions of Paul, Gerhard, David and Frank reflect the enormous amount of talent and depth within our organization," Mr Probst said. "I believe this is the strongest and most capable executive team in our industry."

EA has experienced a less than stellar 2005 compared to some of its counterparts. Lacking hits on the scale of Halo 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and World of Warcraft, it issued a full-year sales and profit warning in March. Profits in the fourth quarter to March 31 fell to $8m from $90m a year earlier.

In July, it delayed the release until 2006 of The Godfather, one of its main hopes for the year, saying it needed more time to develop it. It also lowered its revenue forecast for the current fiscal year to $3.3bn-$3.4bn, down from $3.5bn.

Copyright The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved.


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