Don Mattrick quits Microsoft for Zynga

Don Mattrick quits Microsoft for Zynga
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

July 1st 2013 at 9:15PM

Xbox chief to replace Mark Pincus as CEO effective July 8th following unanimous board decision

Don Mattrick will join Zynga as chief executive officer starting next week.

Officially beginning his post on July 8th, the Xbox chief was "unanimously" appointed as CEO by the board.

Former Zynga chief exec Mark Pincus, who founded the company, will now take on the positions of chairman of the board of directors and chief product officer.

Pincus and Mattrick will form a executive committe to manage operations and affairs of the company between board meetings.

"Don is unique in the game business," said Zynga founder Mark Pincus.

"He can execute in multiple domains - hardware, software and network, and he's been the person responsible for game franchises like 'Need for Speed,' 'FIFA' and 'The Sims.' He's one of the top executives in the overall entertainment business and he's a great coach who has inspired people to do their best work and build strong, productive teams. He deeply understands the value of a network and the importance of creating lifelong consumer relationships.

"He turned Xbox into the world's largest console-gaming network, growing its installed base from 10 to 80 million and transformed that business from deep losses to substantial profits. And he has grown the Xbox Live player network from 6 to 50 million active members in 41 countries. Going forward, I'll continue in my role as Chairman and Chief Product Officer. I'm excited to partner with Don and the rest of our team to return Zynga to its leadership role in inventing and growing Play as a core human experience."

Mattrick added:  "In its short history, Zynga has redefined entertainment and brought social gaming to the mainstream. More than 1 billion people across web and mobile have installed Zynga games, and franchises like FarmVille and Words With Friends have become a part of people's daily lives.

"I joined Zynga because I believe that Mark's pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started. Zynga is a great business that has yet to realize its full potential. I'm proud to partner with Mark to deliver high-quality, fun, social games wherever people want to play."

Posting on the Zynga blog, Pincus expanded on his statements and claimed he had made the decision to bring on board Don Mattrick as CEO.

He added that he was "excited" to partner with Mattrick moving forward, and hoped it would help return the company "to its leadership role in investing and growing Play as a core human experience".

"Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all that we have achieved together as a company," said Pincus.

"We have pioneered social gaming and helped make Play a core part of millions of people’s lives.  But Zynga has so much more potential ahead, the opportunity to be an Internet Treasure and deliver on our mission of connecting the world through games.

"As I reflect on the past six years, I realize that I’ve had the greatest impact working as an entrepreneur with product teams, developing games that could entertain and connect millions.

"I’ve always said to Bing and our Board that if I could find someone who could do a better job as our CEO I’d do all I could to recruit and bring that person in. I’m confident that Don is that leader."