Zynga COO David Ko exits after latest management shakeup


Embattled social gaming publisher Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) announced the departures of three top-level executives, including Chief Operations Officer David Ko, as part of a organizational shakeup spearheaded by new CEO Don Mattrick.

In an email to employees posted on the Zynga site, Mattrick outlined a new management structure naming 13 staffers from across the company as direct reports. "I have been working with our leaders to review different parts of our business in order to develop a set of operating principles to help reset the company," Mattrick said. "We are taking layers out of the executive rank to get senior leaders closer to important product initiatives."

In conjunction with the overhaul, Ko, Chief Technology Officer Cadir Lee and Chief People Officer Colleen McCreary are leaving Zynga in to pursue other interests, Mattrick said. Ko joined Zynga in 2010 as Chief Mobile Officer after leading Yahoo's mobile efforts; he was promoted to the COO spot last November, filling a void created with the Aug. 2012 resignation of John Schappert.

Mattrick, previously head of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox business, replaced Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus last month. Pincus continues to serve as Zynga's chairman and chief product officer.

At the time Zynga went public in late 2011, it was the largest gaming publisher across the Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) platform thanks to hit titles including FarmVille and Mafia Wars. But the company has struggled to maintain its initial success while transitioning its efforts to the mobile platform, losing a string of high-profile executives in the process: Just last month, Zynga Senior Vice President of Games John Osvald, Vice President of Games Nathan Etter and Vice President of Product Jesse Janosov all exited the ranks following second-quarter earnings that showed decreases in virtually all of the company's key metrics.

In tandem with the dismal earnings report, Zynga said it will not pursue a license for real-money gaming in the United States, and will instead refocus on its existing free-to-play social gaming business. Speaking on Zynga's quarterly earnings call, Mattrick said the firm anticipates two to four quarters of "volatility'' as he continues to evaluate its business and product line and formulates a new strategy.

For more:
- read this Zynga Blog post
- read this Reuters article

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