Don Mattrick To Officially Become Zynga CEO On July 8th

Posted Jul 2, 2013

named former Microsoft executive Don Mattrick as the CEO on Monday.  Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus will officially step down on July 8th.  Pincus will remain the chairman of the board and chief product officer.

Mattrick is known for overseeing the team that grew the Xbox Live membership go from 6 million to nearly 50 million subscribers in 41 countries.

“Don is unique in the game business,” said Pincus in a statement. “He can execute in multiple domains ? hardware, software and network, and he’s been the person responsible for game franchises like Need for Speed, FIFA and The Sims. He’s one of the top executives in the overall entertainment business and he’s a great coach who has inspired people to do their best work and build strong, productive teams.”

Mattrick will be paid around 95% of his compensation in stock, according to sources with The Wall Street Journal.  The details of his compensation will reportedly be detailed in a regulatory filing.

After the announcement took place, Zynga’s stock price gained 10%.  The stock was trading at below $3 yesterday and now it is trading at $3.41 as of the time I was writing this.

Management Control: How much control will Pincus have?  Buzzfeed reports that Pincus and Mattrick will work in “partnership” on decisions.  Mattrick will have the final vote on making decisions on execution though.  Pincus will lead the vision and strategy along with defining product experiences.

Unfortunately, Pincus is notorious for being a micro-manager.  Pincus supposedly green lighted every game at the company and he likely will not hand over that responsibility completely to Mattrick.  Now Pincus, Mattrick, board member Bing Gordon, and several other committee members will be green lighting every game.

Mattrick’s Perspective: “As Mark was recruiting me to come here, I was impressed by his creativity, drive and the clarity in which he sees the future of games and entertainment as a core consumer experience,” stated Mattrick on the Zynga blog.  “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.”