Zynga continues to lose key employees, and the latest to join the list is Mark Skaggs, according to GamesBeat. The seasoned game designer has been with the game maker for seven years and created hit games like FarmVille and Empires & Allies.
Skaggs – the man behind FarmVille
Skaggs had been with Zynga since 2008 and spent a lot of time in commuting from Texas to California. Skaggs’ departure has been termed amicable by the game maker. His departure signals more changes for Zynga, which is struggling to get more traction against entrenched competitors in the $30 billion mobile game market.
In an email provided exclusively to GamesBeat, Zynga chief executive Mark Pincus thanked Skaggs for his years of service. Skaggs was the leader of the team that created FarmVille on Facebook in 2009. At one point in time, the game was enjoyed by 32 million daily active users. Skaggs created several other big games as well, including CityVille, The Ville, Treasure Isle, and Command & Conquer Generals.
In the email, Pincus said that before deciding on his next adventure, Skaggs will spend some time with his family. “We thank Mark for his leadership and contributions to Zynga over the years across a range of games, including FarmVille, CityVille and most recently into the action strategy category with Empires & Allies,” Pincus said.
New appointments and promotions at Zynga
Zynga also announced a number of new hires and promotions. A former HR executive at Hasbro has been appointed as the new chief people officer at Zynga. Despite the exit of Skaggs, Zynga still has a lot of experienced people in its ranks. Lincoln Brown and Joe Kaminkow are being promoted to the post of senior vice president. Both will be focusing on social casino slots games, a category that was up 274% in the second quarter from a year earlier.
Zynga will appoint Katherine De Leon as the general manager of the Empires & Allies team. In the coming weeks, Empires & Allies will launch new features such as Alliance Warfare and War Factory. Pete Hawley, a game veteran, will oversee De Leon and the action and strategy business. Empires & Allies is one of the first titles for hardcore gamers on mobile devices, and Zynga said it is happy with its performance.