Holy 2007 – Pincus Returns as Zynga CEO
Everything old is new again at Zynga now that the company’s founder, Mark Pincus, has retaken his spot as CEO of the once-mighty social gaming company. Pincus is replacing Don Mattick, who held the top spot for nearly two years.
Pincus’ return, and Mattick’s exit, are just the latest in a long-running series of dramas that have hobbled Zynga’s efforts to regain its fortunes after multiple years of dismal news from the company.
Though Mattick seemingly had the right ideas for keeping Zynga relevant (emphasize mobile, rejuvenate flagship products), he just couldn’t seem to recapture the company’s long lost mojo.
Most strikingly, his efforts to breath new life into Zynga’s core product, Texas Hold ‘Em, was a complete disaster. Long-time users hated the new look, forcing Zynga to return to the old look in the form of, Zynga Texas Hold ‘Em Classic.
While no one is openly saying that Mattick was fired, it doesn’t take an expert in corporate-speak to decode the quotes coming out of the San Francisco-based business.
In a statement to the press, Mattick said:
I believe the timing is now right for me to leave as C.E.O. and let Mark lead the company into its next chapter, given his passion for the founding vision and his ability to couple our mobile progress with Zynga’s unique strengths.
In an interview with the New York Times, Pincus has tepid praise for Mattick saying:
Don and I share a deep commitment to this company achieving its potential.
Whether Pincus will be able to turn his company around after several years’ absence from its e-suite remains to be seen. After all, the only reason Mattick was there in the first place is because Pincus couldn’t do exactly what he’s being asked to do now.