Zynga CEO Makes Sudden Departure

Zynga CEO Makes Sudden Departure

The CEO of the Farmville-giant leaves after less than two years of service.

Zynga CEO Don Mattrick has abruptly left the company, to be replaced by his predecessor, company founder Mark Pincus, according to a press release from the company. The company made the announcement before their panel on first-quarter sales and future endeavors. Don Mattrick had previously worked with Xbox through Microsoft. 

“I believe the timing is now right for me to leave as CEO and let Mark lead the company into its next chapter given his passion for the founding vision and his ability to couple our mobile progress with Zynga’s unique strengths,” Mattrick said in the statement.

To analysts and those in the industry, Mattrick’s exit does not come as much of a surprise: “In the game industry circle, Don Mattrick was presumed to be seeking an exit,” said Colin Sebastian, a tech analyst at RW Baird. “More of a surprise is Pincus returning. He clearly wants to reestablish credibility with gamers and Wall Street.” Pincus owns about 10% of the company and has 60% of the voting rights. A lot of his success will be determined by how the next few months and game releases go. 

Directly after Mattrick’s announcement Wednesday, the company’s shares fell more than 9 percent, to $2.63. The company’s shares have fallen more than 30 percent in the past year, and they are losing out to other companies within the industry, including King. The company has one of the most recognizable games for Facebook or iPhone, Farmville. However it has been years and they haven’t been able to replicate that success. 

“There’s a lot to be said about being early,” said Adam Krejcik, an analyst and managing director at Eilers Research, when asked why the company is having trouble connecting to an audience. “They absolutely had that on Facebook. For mobile, they entered the space late and it was a much different competitive landscape.”


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