Microsoft Xbox Guru To Replace Zynga CEO Mark Pincus

The ups and downs of social gaming giant Zynga are well known to our regular readers. CEO Pincus has been under pressure for a long time and we even reported that he was close to tears due to the company’s falling stock price. The road has been difficult since the much hyped IPO launch in 2011 where the Zynga was offered at $10. Since then there has been problem after problem for the embattled CEO. These include mass layoffs, a dramatic share price drop and a loss of confidence from investors.

With this in the background it comes as no surprise that CEO Mark Pincus is “stepping down” to be replaced by the head of Microsoft’s Xbox business, Don Mattrick.
Whether he “Stepped down” or was pushed is a matter for debate but Pincus still will stay on as chief product officer and chairman.

Mattrick has been with Microsoft for six years and held the position as president of Microsoft’s entertainment business since 2010. One of his major accomplishments was growing the Xbox online service from six million to forty eight million in six years. These type of figures are exactly what Zynga is in dire need of.

Zynga CEO Pincus wrote a letter to his employees stating,” that if I could find someone who could do a better job as our CEO I’d do all I could to recruit and bring that person in. I’m confident that Don is that leader.”

Mattrick has a lot of work ahead of him but is keen to take on the challenge,” Zynga is a great business that has yet to realize its full potential. I’m really proud to partner with a product focused founder like Mark and work with the executive team to grow the DNA of the company and lead this transition.”

Mattrick’s main challenges will include restoring investor and player’s confidence, reviving the share price which has tanked by 70%. Another major area which needs attention is retention of existing players which have dropped from 292 million MAU’s to 253 million MAU’s.

Pincus has endorsed his replacement and was quick to praise him as one of the top executives in the entertainment business. He was quoted,” He turned Xbox into the world’s largest console-gaming network, growing its installed base from 10 (million) to 80 million and transformed that business from deep losses to substantial profits. And he has grown the Xbox Live player network from 6 (million) to 50 million active members in 41 countries.”Not surprising Zynga’s share price spiked by over 10% after the dramatic announce of Mattrick’s appointment.

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