Social and mobile game company Zynga has announced CEO Don Mattrick has departed the company and board of directors, effective April 8, 2015. Mark Pincus, Zynga’s founder and chairman, will return to the role of CEO.
Mattrick joined Zynga in July 2013, and led the company into its mobile first initiative, which has seen popular franchises, like FarmVille, embrace mobile with new games, and has triggered substantial updates to some existing titles. As Zynga continues to focus on mobile, its Facebook game catalog is being heavily reduced, with the upcoming closure of many existing titles, including Pioneer Trail, CastleVille and ChefVille.
In a statement, Mattrick commented on his departure:
When I joined the company in July 2013, Mark and I shared a vision of building a meaningful company that redefines entertainment in an increasingly mobile world. I am proud of the progress we have made together. I believe the timing is now right for me to leave as CEO and let Mark lead the company into its next chapter given his passion for the founding vision and his ability to couple our mobile progress with Zynga’s unique strengths. As a company, Zynga is in a stronger position today to serve mobile consumers and take advantage of the unprecedented growth opportunity across our industry. I am excited about the company’s trajectory and wish the best for Mark, Zynga and NaturalMotion as I plan to return to Canada to pursue my next challenge.
In an internal email and blog post, Pincus addressed his return to the CEO position:
Now that we are a mobile first company, it’s time to renew our focus on our vision to make play and social games a mass market activity … I am returning to the company that I love in order to accelerate innovation in the most popular categories like Action Strategy and strengthen our focus on our core areas like Invest and Express. I look forward to partnering with our leaders to intensify our focus on social experiences for the millions of consumers who play our games.
Zynga will reveal its Q1 2015 financial results in a conference call slated for May 7, 2015.