Mark Pincus, the founder and long-time CEO of Zynga, said today that he will accept a demotion to the role of chief product officer, handing over his position as CEO to Don Mattrick, 49.
Zynga, which launched in 2007 and went public in late 2011, has struggled in the markets over the last year.
“As I reflect on the past six years, I realize that I’ve had the greatest impact working as an entrepreneur with product teams, developing games that could entertain and connect millions. I’ve always said to … that if I could find someone who could do a better job as our CEO I’d do all I could to recruit and bring that person in,” wrote Pincus, 47, in a note to staff today.
“I’m confident that Don is that leader … [H]e’s a great coach who has inspired people to do their best work and build strong, productive teams,” Pincus said.
Mattrick leaves a six-year tenure as the head of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, which includes its XBox gaming console. He previously worked at Electronic Arts, where he worked on “Need for Speed” and “The Sims” franchises. At 17, Mattrick founded Distinctive Software.
Update: Mattrick also sent a note to staff. In it, he says, “I joined Zynga because I believe that Mark’s pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started. As Mark was recruiting me to come here, I was impressed by his creativity, drive and the clarity in which he sees the future of games and entertainment as a core consumer experience.” (The full memo is published on AllThingsD.)
Mattrick starts tomorrow. Pincus will keep his seat as chairman of Zynga’s board.