Zynga gets a new CEO, hires EA exec Frank Gibeau

Steven Loeb · March 1, 2016 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/43ac

Mark Pincus is out again after less than a year, will become Executive Chairman of the Board

Once again, Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus is out of a job.

Less than a year after taking his old job back, after being ousted in 2013, Pincus is once again handing over the reigns of his company to an executive at Electronic Arts as Frank Gibeau has been named as the new CEO of Zynga, it was announced on Tuesday. Pincus will become Executive Chairman of the company's Board of Directors.

Gibeau has spent more than 20 years at Electronic Arts, most recently as the Executive Vice President of EA Mobile from October 2013 to May 2015, where he led strategy, product development and publishing for the company's fast-growing mobile games business.

Before that he was President of EA Labels from 2011 to 2013, where he oversaw IP development, worldwide product management and marketing for major console and PC properties. He also spent time as EA's Executive Vice President and General Manager of The Americas.

He has also been a member of Zynga's Board since August. 

This is the second time that Pincus has been replaced by a long time EA executive; the last time was in 2013, when Don Mattrick, who had also worked at Electronic Arts for 25 years, before coming in to oversee the Xbox 360 business at Microsoft in 2007, took over. He only lasted at the job until 2015.

Zynga has been struggling in recent years, especially since its relationship with Facebook ended in 2013. Since then it has struggled to gain the same traction with its franchises that it once had. It has seen its stock price plummet and its revenue drop.

In its most recent earning, the company posted an earnings-per-share loss of $0.05 per share Wednesday, lower than analysts' expectations $0.0, while bookings came in at $182 million, while analysts had expected $177 million.

Zynga's stock rose 7.4 percent in after hours trading on the news of it getting a new CEO, but it is still down 19.40 percent on the year, ending regular trading at $2.16 a share on Tuesday. It is down 78.4 percent from its $10 IPO price in December 2011. 

It's not really clear whose decision it was for Pincus to vacate his position, whether the Board forced him out or if he left voluntarily.

Either way, he was gracious in his praise for Gibeau and the future of the company. 

"I recruited Frank seven months ago to become an active board member to advise and coach our teams. Frank has mentored product teams, led roadmap meetings and delivered inspiring talks to our game making and PM communities. Frank has also been a big supporter of our move to smaller more nimble teams. Equally important, we have worked well together and share a common vision for Zynga around mobile and social gaming," Pincus said in a statement. 

"In our industry he's known for driving operational excellence and leading winning teams on both the publishing and studio side of the gaming business."

Going forward, Pincus said he will focus on "driving our vision and working with a small number of live and new product teams to help drive innovative new social experiences for our players."

CEO turnover in 2016

For whatever reason, we are only two months into 2016, a surprising number of big companies have already gotten rid of their CEOs.

Mobile messaging app Tango announced that it was replacing its longtime CEO Uri Raz with co-foundr and CTO Eric Setton. After that Indian e-commerce company Flipkart revealed that Binny Bansal, its COO and Co-founder of Flipkart, will become its Chief Executive Officer. 

Digital sports blog Bleacher Report also got a new CEO in Dave Finocchio, who had previously been in charge of the company in 2013, before stepping back from day-to-day responsibilities in 2014.

Slava Rubin, founder and CEO of Indiegogo, also let go of his position, becoming the company's Chief Business Officer instead.

Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala decided to step down after he took over the job from long-time CEO Mikael Hed in August of last year. Rantala will stay on as CEO until the end of the year before being replaced by Kati Levoranta, who has been Chief Legal Officer at Rovio since 2012.

Most recently it was Zenefits that lost its CEO when Parker Conrad resigned from his position following months of bad press, and possible scandals. He was replaced by Yammer founder David Sacks. 

(Image source: idownloadblog.com)

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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit www.zynga.com.


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