Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) shares rallied in after-hours trade after the game maker announced the appointment of a new CEO less than a year after founder Mark Pincus took the role back from Xbox veteran Don Mattrick. Shares of Zynga climbed 5.56% to $2.28 in after-hours trades on Tuesday after the announcement was made.
Zynga board member appointed to CEO post
Right after closing bell tonight. Zynga announced that it has appointed board member Frank Gibeau as CEO starting on March 7. Pincus steps down from the post but will serve as executive chairman. Gibeau has been on the game maker’s board of directors since August 2015 and has 25 years of experience in the interactive gaming space. Pincus said in a statement:
“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 [sic] teams. Equally important, we have worked well together and share a common vision for Zynga around mobile and social gaming.”
Zynga picks up a mobile gaming veteran
Gibeau goes to Zynga from Electronic Arts where he played various roles over the course of 20 years. His last position at the gaming giant was Executive Vice President of EA Mobile, which he worked in from October 2013 until May 2015, managing the company’s mobile gaming franchises.
Zynga has been in a quest to reshape itself into a game maker with a focus on mobile games. The company got its start with the hit game FarmVille on Facebook, but after the relationship between the two companies ended, the game maker was forced to reinvent itself. It has had trouble achieving this so far, and former Xbox head Don Mattrick was brought in to turn things around, but his attempts ultimately didn’t work. Pincus returned to the helm in April 2015.
In an email sent to Zynga employees, Gibeau said:
“While we’re not yet the company we aspire to be, it’s clear to me that Zynga has significant strengths that it can thrive on. We have a galvanizing social gaming vision that aligns our company and our players care about. Our talented teams have developed unique technologies and tools that allow us to effectively balance the art and science of game making.”