Zynga Plots to Tap Don Mattrick for New CEO Slot

By Steve Anderson July 01, 2013

New reports suggest that Mark Pincus is set to step out of the CEO slot at Zynga, and in his place will come a fairly major name in his own right: former head of Microsoft's entertainment division Don Mattrick. The changing of the guard comes at a very challenging time for Zynga, but can Mattrick's experience provide the turnaround so needed?

The plan, at last report, was a private one, so there's still some chance it may not come off. But with the reports indicating that the whole thing may get the official announcement treatment by the end of the day—the appointment itself is said to be effective July 8, taking a little time off for a long holiday weekend—it likely won't be long before this goes from quiet plan to full-on announcement.

If Mattrick is the one to step in, he'll have plenty on his plate. Zynga is facing down some heavy competition, as well as a bit of an image problem on some fronts stemming from its move into gambling. With online gaming companies like King.com, browser game offerings like Kongregate and Armor Games, even reports of an Android console from Google expected inbound, and all vying for a slice of the market, there's a lot going on for Zynga to face down. But Mattrick already has plenty of experience, coming from not only Microsoft but also Electronic Arts.

Image via Mashable

The market, meanwhile, reportedly took the idea very well, with Zynga shares at one point up 13 percent, and was seeing some of the biggest gains seen since April 3. If Mattrick is looking to sign on with Zynga—as is entirely possible—then it's a fair sign that Mattrick sees possibilities ahead for the company, and may well serve as a way to put a little extra boost under the company's current fortunes.

Naturally, if Mattrick can put together the package that turns the company around after a litany of departures, layoffs and otherwise all-around depressing news, that will not only give Zynga more credibility in the marketplace but also give Mattrick's own fortunes a substantial boost. Though some reports indicate that Mattrick may have conflict with Pincus and the board from the word go, as Pincus—current chairman—has a governance structure in place that gives him much of the control over the board's voting. Additionally, some new partnerships in the market—a recent move with Pokki and Acer to bring games to new Acer PC models—certainly can't hurt the overall prospects.

Still, bringing in a major name like Mattrick is a good sign; the company is clearly willing to go all out to restore its growth patterns and light a fire under the stock price as well. Just where it all goes from here remains to be seen, but there's plenty of reason to be confident from the outset.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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