Meet The New CEO Who Has To Save Zynga

mark pincus and don mattrick new ceo of zyngaMark Pincus (right) with new Zynga CEO Don Mattrick.

Zynga made it official today. Its CEO Mark Pincus is stepping down and will be replaced by Don Mattrick, the Microsoft executive who until this week was in charge of the Xbox business. He starts July 8.

Pincus will now by Zynga’s chairman and chief product officer. 

But the real focus is now on Mattrick. His job will be to rescue Zynga, which has been struggling to find a hit game since its IPO in 2011.

The company’s stock is down about 70% from its original IPO price, not counting today’s bump on the news that Mattrick will be the new CEO.

Zynga also laid off 520 employees, or about 18% of its staff, last month in an attempt to refocus on mobile games for smartphones and tablets. 

That’s the biggest challenge for Zynga. It found a lot of success making games that you could play within Facebook, but has struggled to adapt to the smartphones, where a lot of gaming takes place now. 

So who is Mattrick, and is he equipped to turn Zynga around?

Here’s what you need to know about Mattrick from his official Microsoft biography and other sources:

  • Until today, Mattrick was president of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment division, meaning he was in charge of all Xbox products. He was on stage in May to unveil the Xbox One, Microsoft’s new video game console that launches later this year.
  • Under Mattrick, the Microsoft’s current Xbox 360 console became the top-selling video game console in the world, according to a letter released today by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
  • Mattrick also grew Microsoft’s Xbox Live subscriptions, which lets Xbox consoles connect to the Internet, from 6 million to 48 million.
  • Before joining Microsoft in 2007, Mattrick was the president of game developer EA’s worldwide studios. He has a lot of experience creating hit games from his time at EA, which is something Zynga desperately needs.

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