Zynga chief to step down

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

WASH­ING­TON: Zynga Inc. Chair­man and co-founder Mark Pin­cus is step­ping down as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the video-game com­pany for a se­cond time, to be re­placed by board mem­ber and in­dus­try vet­eran Frank Gibeau, who will start in the new role March 7.

The move will al­low Pin­cus, who be­comes ex­ec­u­tive chair­man, to fo­cus on game de­vel­op­ment while hav­ing a sea­soned man­ager make daily de­ci­sions. The com­pany an­nounced the changes Tues­day in a state­ment. In an in­ter­view, Pin­cus, 50, said the shift was his idea. "I have done those jobs," Pin­cus said. "That's not my core value zone."

Zynga, a pi­o­neer in so­cial gam­ing, has strug­gled to come up with new hits on the scale of past suc­cesses, such as Far­mVille and Words With Friends, and to shift its busi­ness to mo­bile devices. The com­pany has a num­ber of new mo­bile games com­ing out this year, in­clud­ing the mil­i­tary-strat­egy ti­tle Dawn of Ti­tans, rac­ing se­quel CSR2 and one based on Willy Wonka slot ma­chines.

Gibeau, 47, spent more than two decades at video-game maker Elec­tronic Arts Inc. be­fore step­ping down last May from his role lead­ing strat­egy and prod­uct de­vel­op­ment for that com­pany's mo­bile unit. Pin­cus re­cruited him seven months ago to the Zynga board, where he has been men­tor­ing prod­uct teams, lead­ing plan­ning meet­ings and de­liv­er­ing talks to game de­vel­op­ers and mar­keters, the San Fran­cis­cobased com­pany said in the state­ment. "What I saw were all the in­gre­di­ents of a suc­cess­ful turn­around," Gibeau said in an in­ter­view. "And a lot of proven brands."

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