Don Mattrick and Mark Pincus 310x

Former Xbox chief leaves “amicably,” as founder Mark Pincus steps in.

In a surprise move earlier today, Zynga announced that CEO Don Mattrick is resigning, effectively immediately, and he will be replaced by company co-founder and former CEO Mark Pincus. Mattrick replaced Pincus as CEO in 2013.

The departure happens less than two years after Mattrick took the reigns from Pincus. Mattrick left his role as Microsoft’s President of Interactive Entertainment Business (in other words, he was in charge of the Xbox team) to lead Zynga.

“We had to go from a company that was leveraging a huge distribution network on Facebook…with large game teams averaging over 100 people,” said Pincus to VentureBeat. “We had to learn to operate with smaller teams and deliver much higher production quality. Don was the right person to lead that transition, to build the new DNA.”

Zynga has not yet completed its turnaround roadmap, which is focused on game development outside of Facebook, and on games for mobile devices. Mattrick was tapped to lead that turnaround, but no definitive reason has been given for his departure before seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Some in the financial sector have been critical of Mattrick, even going so far as to call for his firing.

Mattrick served in a number of roles during his time at Electronic Arts, a tenure that lasted from 1991 through 2007. From 2007 through his departure from Microsoft in 2013, Mattrick worked with the Xbox team within the Interactive Entertainment Business division.

Source: GamesBeat

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