Zynga’s new CEO Don Mattrick lives a lavish life, and is a tough boss, according to an excellent profile by Nicole Laporte for Fast Company.
Here’s her summation of Mattrick’s personality:
Mattrick loves spectacle–he wears rainbow-stripe Paul Smith socks and once hired Cirque du Soleil to kick off a Microsoft event–but he can be painfully introverted, one of many contradictions that make the man. He’s an amiable Canadian and yet an autocratic boss; a company man and yet one who’s unafraid to speak his mind to his superiors; a division head who lives like a Saudi prince and jets to work; and a press-averse guy who likes to name-drop his celebrity friends.
His home is the largest in British Columbia, Canada and it’s worth $27 million. It has a 10-car garage, and it’s filled.
When Laporte asked Mattrick how many cars he owned, he just smiled. She said, “A dozen?” He responded, “Ish.” As in, he has a dozen-ish cars. The cars he owns include Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Lotuses.
He made millions when he was at EA, and his wife is a Canadian telecom heiress.
Laporte says he preferred to work in Vancouver, and when he had to go to Microsoft’s campus, he took a private jet.
He drops the names of people like Steven Spielberg and Wayne Gretzky. (Examples: I’m going to the game tonight with “my friend Wayne.” Or, “Steven would just drop by” to play video games.)
In terms of being a boss, he is tough.
Hanno Lemke, the general manager of Microsoft Studios said, “Don has this really ambitious vision … Then he’s just relentless, dogged about pushing people beyond their comfort zones.
Yusuf Mehdi, a Microsoft lifer, who leads Xbox marketing said, “If people don’t deliver, they’ve got to go. He doesn’t have the patience for that.”
Mattrick is a life long gamer. In the 80s, he built Test Drive, the first game that put gamers behind the wheel. At EA he led development of The Sims. He is credited with commercializing motion-based technology in Kinect that was sitting around in Microsoft’s research labs.
The Wall Street Journal reported Mattrick told people earlier this year that he wanted to be the CEO of a games company. One of the people he told was Bing Gordon, a former colleague at EA, and an influential board member at Zynga. Gordon told Zynga CEO Mark Pincus about Mattrick. From there, Mattrick and Pincus met, and now Mattrick is CEO.
Another factor in his decision to join Zynga: He was going to lead hardware at Microsoft. This sounds like a promotion to us, but Laporte claims he wanted a bigger role at the company, which is in the middle of a big reorganization.
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