EA Pays $48 Million to Design Chief Among Raises to Keep Talent

(Bloomberg) -- Electronic Arts Inc. more than quadrupled compensation for its production chief to $48.4 million as the gaming company raised pay for top executives in an effort to keep talent.

Patrick Soderlund, who runs EA Worldwide Studios, was the highest paid of the company’s leaders, receiving equity awards totaling $46.3 million, while Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wilson received $35.7 million in total pay, a 79 percent increase from a year earlier, the Redwood City, California-based company said Friday in a regulatory filing. The increases resulted from special equity awards in recognition of the firm’s financial performance over the past four years.

The board “determined that incentivizing and retaining these key executives was critical to the company’s continued strong growth and success,” according to the filing.

Four of the company executives received the special performance stock awards ranging $7 million to $15 million in fiscal 2018, with Soderlund getting an additional $22.9 million for his “key role” in overseeing game development. EA’s stock has climbed 572 percent in the past five years, compared with the 152 percent advance of the S&P 500 Information Technology Index.

Wilson’s compensation included a $1.14 million salary, cash bonus of $2.5 million and $32 million in equity, with about 47 percent of that coming from the special awards.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.