Zynga founder Mark Pincus takes a step back as non-executive chair

24 Apr 2014

Zynga founder Mark Pincus. Photo via Zynga Games/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

Zynga’s founder Mark Pincus has decided to relieve himself of management duties at the struggling social gaming company, taking up a more distant role as non-executive chair and turning his attention to other investments.

Pincus, who founded Zynga in 2007, told employees in a memo on Wednesday, “I have decided to change my role to non-executive chairman. This means that, while I’ll still keep an office at Zynga, and be active in supporting the company, I will not have an operating role. Most importantly, I remain Zynga’s largest shareholder and biggest believer.”

Pincus handed the CEO reins over to Don Mattrick, former president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment, in July last year and had since served as chair and chief product officer at the company. He will now no longer hold management duties at the firm and will be present at the company once a week at most.

According to Re/code, Pincus, an active angel investor, plans to spend time on personal investments and is considering establishing an incubator.

The San Francisco, California-based company had a rocky 2013, with player numbers and revenue figures falling quarter after quarter.

The decision was made in June to restructure the business to focus on mobile and multiplayer and lay off 18pc of its workforce in cost-cutting measures. As well as Mattrick’s appointment, a new COO was hired in October to turn Zynga’s fortunes around, and the company is no doubt hoping to recover in 2014, starting with the acquisition of NaturalMotion in January.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.