Zynga wowed the gaming and greater media worlds by nabbing top Xbox executive Don Mattrick to become the beleaguered company's new CEO on Monday.
With Mattrick's hire, Zynga founder Mark Pincus will relinquish CEO duties, but will stay on as both chairman of the board of directors and chief product officer. The news was first reported by Allthingsd.com.
In a blog posting on Monday, Mattrick, formerly Microsoft's president, interactive entertainment business, said he joined Zynga because "I believe that Mark’s pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started."
What's shocking about Mattrick's hire is that many in the gaming world might have said that Zynga is closer to being finished. Indeed, it's been a rocky few years for the gaming giant, which has endured a rocky IPO and been hit hard by consumers shift away from gaming on social networks via their desktops toward mobile. By the end of Monday, Zynga's stock was up 10 percent.
Mattrick's move was even more eye-popping as it comes on the heels of a generally well received ramp up of the new Xbox One. The exec had just appeared on behalf of Microsoft at E3.
"I’ve admired Zynga for years," wrote Mattrick in today's post. "You have redefined entertainment and brought gaming to the mainstream. Only Zynga combines engineering, industry-leading product management and analytics to deliver products that strike a chord with consumers and add real value in their lives.
"Zynga is a great business that has yet to realize its full potential."