Zynga’s Poker Chief Tired Of Gambling, And Exits The Company

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Troubles seem to be following the struggling game maker, Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), this time now with the exit of Laurence “Lo” Toney, an executive who oversaw the company’s hugely popular online poker game.

Tony’s exit was revealed via his LinkedIn profile, where he changed his current profession to “mentor at MuckerLab,” a Los Angeles startup accelerator, and lists Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) among his previous professions. Toney’s current “professional headline” on LinkedIn is: “Technology Leader. Internet Strategist. Startup Advisor”.

Laurence “Lo” Toney has been with Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) since 2010, as a general manager of Zynga Poker, and has also served a year as a general manager in the company’s mobile division.

Toney confirmed via email that he has no immediate plans for his future yet: “My departure is less about Zynga, and more about the vast number of opportunities that currently exist in the Valley. I have been approached by several organizations to lead teams and companies that I find exciting and compelling. It is the right time for me in my career to move on”.

Zynga Poker, the world’s largest free-to-play online poker game, registering nearly 40 million monthly active users, was also the company’s first ever game, introduced in 2007. Tony now joins the list of top-level executives who left Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) in the past couple of months. In September, Chief technology officer Allan Leinwand and chief marketing and revenue officer Jeff Karp resigned, while in August, chief operating officer John Schappert and chief creative officer Mike Verdu left the company. Not only this, but the game maker also witnessed the exit of two vice presidents, Bill Mooney and Brian Birtwistle, at the end of August.

The maker of games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, which went public last December, saw its stock plummet to an all-time low last Friday. The company expects a loss in the third quarter, owing to weak demand for its web-based games, the wire service adds. The San Francisco-based firm has been experiencing a continuous decline in popularity on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), its largest platform, as it is struggling to make the transition to mobile gaming.

However, the exit of Toney’s may not leave a gap in the company’s leadership ranks for real-money gaming. In August, Maytal Ginzburg joined the company as the company’s chief operating officer in charge of new markets, including its real-money gaming efforts. Ginzburg was previously employed at 888 Holdings, which offers real-money games, such as poker, bingo, and sports betting, in markets where online gambling is regulated.

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