Zynga Inc Founder Mark Pincus Takes Back CEO Role

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The mobile-games company has been struggling to adapt to an evolving market, and Pincus is set to replace Don Mattrick as chief executive, ending the latter’s time at the company after less than two years. Zynga is best-known as the maker of “FarmVille,” “Words With Friends” and other mobile games.

Zynga undergoing leadership reshuffle

Pincus will take on the role of CEO with immediate effect, according to the company. Mattrick, who used to head Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox gaming division, has resigned as CEO and will leave the board. Pincus is set to receive a salary of $1, although he owns around 10% of Zynga and maintains approximately 60% of voting rights.

Pincus claims that his two-year absence from the role has allowed him “enough time to reflect and process” his previous performance. “I can bring a deeper DNA strand and intensity of focus,” he said in an interview.

Zynga is a cautionary tale for any company that is heavily dependent on Facebook Inc. to provide a platform. Once a dominant force in Facebook games, Zynga suffered as users of the social network deserted their PCs in favor of mobile devices and apps, with the company struggling to adapt to the changing tech landscape.

A renewed focus on differentiating the company

Mattrick took up his position as Zynga CEO in July 2013, with a brief to kick on with the transition to mobile and provide strong leadership from the top of the company. Pincus dedicated himself to focusing on creative strategy while Mattrick was given the task of running the company.

Now Pincus claims that he wants to rediscover “what differentiated us” as a company. “While we built this whole new DNA and muscle in mobile, we weren’t able to reinvest and re-establish some of what was our special sauce,” he said.

The company is expected to release mobile action game “Dawn of Titans” imminently, and investors have been told to expect between 6-10 new titles in 2015.

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