(Updates with analyst’s comment in sixth paragraph)
Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Zynga Inc. Chief Executive Officer Don Mattrick is putting his stamp on the company, seeking to reduce layers of management in a push to turn around the struggling developer of social games.
Chief Operations Officer David Ko, Chief People Officer Colleen McCreary and Chief Technology Officer Cadir Lee are leaving amid an executive shuffle, Mattrick said in an e-mail to staff yesterday.
The exits follow last month’s appointment of Mattrick, a former Microsoft Corp. executive who replaced founder Mark Pincus and is seeking to reverse a 71 percent share slide since the company went public in December 2011. The new CEO is working to revive growth and reinvigorate Zynga’s efforts in mobile games. The company expects two to four quarters of “volatility” as Mattrick evaluates the business and products while developing a new strategy, he said on a conference call last month.
“We are taking layers out of the executive rank to get senior leaders closer to important product initiatives,” Mattrick wrote in yesterday’s e-mail.
Through yesterday, Zynga had dropped 17 percent since announcing on July 25 that it’s abandoning plans to enter the online-gambling business in the U.S. The company also forecast third-quarter sales and earnings that fell short of analysts’ estimates as fewer users play games on Facebook Inc.’s website. Zynga fell less than 1 percent to $2.90 at 9:38 a.m. in New York.
“This is a CEO who has the authority to shake things up, and reducing the executive ranks also suggests there may be further downsizing,” said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. “Zynga won’t be truly right-sized until they demonstrate improving product performance, so let’s hope these changes result in better games.”
King.com, developer of “Candy Crush Saga,” reached 150.4 million monthly users on Facebook in June, surpassing Zynga, according to online tracker AppData, ending Zynga’s five-year reign as the top game maker on the social-networking service.
Ko, who spent a decade at Yahoo! Inc. before joining Zynga, was promoted to COO last November following a previous reorganization led by Pincus.
--With assistance from Cliff Edwards in San Francisco. Editors: Reed Stevenson, Stephen West