EA shuffles leadership team as Samantha Ryan leaves

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Electronic Arts announced a shuffle for its management team as longtime executive Samantha Ryan has decided to leave EA.

The move follows EA’s previous changes where it replaced its chief financial officer and split the responsibility for managing EA’s studios between COO Laura Miele, who is now in charge of EA Entertainment, and Cam Weber, who was elevated to president of EA Sports.

Rachel Franklin, another seasoned exec who was in charge of positive play, will now take over part of Ryan’s responsibilities as the group exec in charge of both Maxis, maker of The Sims 4, and Full Circle, the maker of Skate. Franklin will be senior vice president and group general manager of Lifestyle Entertainment.

Catharina Mallet, general manager of Maxis, and Dan McCulloch, general manager of Full Circle, will report to Franklin. Franklin’s positive play group, which had about 20 people, will be disbanded and those workers will be attached to different studios.

An EA spokesperson said that over the past few months Miele had connected with leaders and teams across EA Entertainment. One of the themes that emerged was the opportunity to better integrate shared capabilities, design features, tech/tools, and social features on the two largest user-generated content brands in the portfolio — The Sims and Skate. The communities around each of these games share many of the same expectations. That’s why it made sense to bring them together under Franklin, EA said.

EA said it will continue to evolve the way it will work and take advantage of these shared capabilities, learning, and tech and ensure studio leaders are focused and empowered to manage their businesses with more responsibility and accountability.

Franklin’s background includes her early years at Activision, her own interactive startup, experiences at the cloud gaming company OnLive, and her long history leading The Sims 4 and Maxis before she departed EA to lead social virtual reality at Facebook. She came back to EA a few years ago to lead positive play and is now ready to combine all of these experiences to lead The Sims and Skate studios. She was trained as an engineer at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Positive Play Group

Rachel Franklin will head Maxis and Full Circle at EA.

The Positive Play Group was established to ensure safe, fair and inclusive player communities, and further empower development teams to create inclusive and accessible game experiences through strategic guidance, the inclusive design framework and other tools and resources.

EA said this will continue to be a priority for it, but it will disperse the people in the group to different parts of the business.

Regarding Ryan, EA said she decided she wanted to change things up, including evaluating some new professional projects.

“We are sad to see her go but support her in her decision,” the spokesperson said.

As for Motive, Cliffhanger and BioWare, those studios will report to Miele. The studio leads include Patrick Klaus, general manager of Motive; Kevin Stephens, general manager of Cliffhanger; and Gary McKay, general manager of BioWare.

Within EA Entertainment, Vince Zampella still manages the Apex Legends, Battlefield and Star Wars teams.

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