Boyden Executive Search

Zynga, the social gaming company that created the hugely popular Farmville and Words With Friends, recently made a number of changes to its leadership team. The executive hires came after several months of poor financial results along with some high-level departures from its C-suite, suggesting major change was in order. Following its stock-toppling split with Facebook in late November, the company is looking to add real-money gambling to its business model.
By Boyden

27 December, 2012

San Francisco-based Zynga, the social gaming company that created the hugely popular Farmville and Words With Friends, recently made a number of changes to its leadership team. The executive hires came after several months of poor financial results along with some high-level departures from its C-suite, TechCrunch reported, suggesting that major change was in order as the company looks to consolidate its place in the social gaming market.

Chief Financial Officer David Wehner left Zynga in November for a senior position at Facebook. "The time I spent at Zynga has been an exciting chapter in my career as we led the rapid development of social gaming," Wehner remarked. He was succeeded by Mark Vranesh, a long-time employee who served previously as CFO.

David Ko, a former Yahoo executive and Zynga’s Chief Mobile Officer, was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. Barry Cottle has moved from Executive Vice President of Business and Corporate Development to the Chief Revenue Officer spot, which had been vacant since Jeff Karp’s departure in September. Finally Steve Chiang, the company’s Executive Vice President of Games, is now its President of Games.

"Mark, David, Barry and Steve are rooted in our culture, committed to our future and part of the talented bench of leadership at Zynga,” remarked CEO Mark Pincus in an internal memo. “I'm confident we have the right team to deliver on our mission of connecting the world through games and position us for long-term growth." Pincus founded the company in 2007.

Thus far the revamped executive team has had a rocky start. The end of Zynga’s exclusivity agreement with Facebook in late November sent stock prices plunging 12%. Yet Travis Boatman, the company’s Senior Vice President of Mobile remains nonplussed, according to TechCrunch.

Speaking at the Mobile-Loco conference in December, Boatman said “We’re super fans of Facebook. They were a great partner of ours in founding and growing the company.” While much of Zynga’s business was built on Facebook, Boatman appeared confident that the company will succeed in going it alone, with plans that include adding real-money gambling to its business model.

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