Everyone knows that social gaming and online dating go together like grilled cheese and tomato soup, which is why it makes sense that Zynga executive Jeremy Verba has just been appointed CEO and board member of eHarmony. The online dating behemoth made the announcement Thursday morning, citing Verba’s “expertise and proven success leading multiple consumer Internet companies” as the reason for his appointment.
At Zynga, Verba was GM of Treasure Isle, which he helped build and launch in three months. The game became the fastest growing app ever on Facebook in its first month, and today it ranks as the 69th most popular app with 5.68 million monthly active users, though at one time it had an all-time high of 27.8 million users.
Verba joined Zynga in December 2009 and is leaving right before Zynga goes public. Prior to that position, he was the CEO and President of Piczo, one of the largest online teen community sites in the world, and quite possibly the top choice among teens as a site for posting pictures of themselves looking sad or angry. Verba oversaw the company through several rounds of fundraising before selling the company in March 2009.
He was also the GM and VP of Voice Services for AOL from 2001 to 2005, the Founder and President of E! Online from 1996 to 1999, and the VP of Entertainment Ventures for CNET.
Jeremy Verba’s successful leadership experience makes him an ideal CEO for eHarmony as it embarks upon its “next phase of growth” and “moves towards even greater levels of creativity and performance,” according to eHarmony Founder and Chairman Dr. Neil Clark Warren.
Verba’s familiarity with the digital landscape will prove to be a big boon for eHarmony as it ramps up its mobile and international expansion. In August 2010, eHarmony released its first iPhone app, followed a few months later by its Android app, and the response has been big. The company’s mobile apps have exceeded one million downloads, and more than 30% of all new eHarmony registrations are occurring on a mobile device.
EHarmony now serves singles in 16 countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Brazil, as well as 11 countries in continental Europe through its affiliation with eDarling.