Canadian Executive Don Mattrick Leaves Microsoft to Lead Zynga

Founder Mark Pincus has stepped down from his role of CEO of the immensely struggling Zynga.

He will be replaced by Canadian Don Mattrick, a former executive of Microsoft who brings more than 30 years of executive experience developing, building, and managing profitable entertainment businesses.

“Don is unique in the game business,” explains Pincus, who will remain with Zynga as chairman as chief product officer. “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,” Pincus added. “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 six to 50 million active members in 41 countries.”

“In its short history, Zynga has redefined entertainment and brought social gaming to the mainstream,” says Mattrick, 49. “More than one 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,” he added. “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.”