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Zynga Hires Microsoft Exec as its New CEO

Zynga Hires Microsoft Exec as its New CEO
New Zynga CEO, Don Mattrick
Image credit: Teckles Photo Inc.

Zynga, maker of the FarmVille franchise and other social games, has hired a new chief executive officer, who will take over from co-founder Mark Pincus. Don Mattrick, formerly Microsoft's president of interactive entertainment, will be starting next week in the top job at Zynga, Pincus said in a company blog post.

The new CEO no doubt has a mandate to turn around the struggling gaming company.

Last month, the company announced that it would be laying off 520 people, about 18 percent of its staff, and closing its offices in New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas. And that was only the latest of a string of downsizing efforts. Even with a spike in its stock price over today's news, Zynga's market capitalization currently stands at $2.44 billion, far below its IPO valuation of $7 billion.

"Zynga has so much more potential ahead, the opportunity to be an Internet Treasure [sic] and deliver on our mission of connecting the world through games," Pincus wrote. He added that he will continue as Zynga's chairman and chief product officer, saying he believes he has always best served the company in that role, "developing games that could entertain and connect millions."

Related: Zynga Layoffs: What Happens When Startups Grow Too Fast
 

Brian Patrick Eha is a freelance journalist and former assistant editor at Entrepreneur.com. He is writing a book about the global phenomenon of Bitcoin for Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Random House. It will be published in 2015.

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