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Schappert stripped of responsibility for games in Zynga reshuffle

COO cedes power to Ko and Chiang in attempt to stop the rot

Zynga has reshuffled its executive management in response to continuing poor results and share performance, taking away COO John Schappert's responsibility for games and giving it jointly to Chief Mobile Officer David Ko and Executive Vice President Steve Chiang.

Chiang and Ko will now report directly to Mark Pincus and take control of gaming at the company, reflecting an internally perceived need to reboot strategy in the face of recent disappointments.

Zynga confirmed the move to the Wall Street Journal with a statement.

"We can confirm that in order to unify our company around a multiplatform approach, we reorganized our teams in July to integrate web and mobile groups.

"Our players expect their favorite games on every platform and we want to unlock everyone in the company to continue moving quickly against the multi platform opportunity."

Translated, this likely means that responsibility for the hammering which Zynga's stock has taken of late has fallen at least partially on Schappert's shoulders. However, the promotion of Ko, and the allusions to a "challenging" Facebook environment in the company's quarterly analysis also reflect a shift towards mobile - a move being mirrored by many social developers.

"Our players expect their favorite games on every platform and we want to unlock everyone in the company to continue moving quickly against the multi platform opportunity."

Zynga press statement

On top of that, Zynga is already facing the first of what are thought to be many legal challenges over alleged insider trading. These charges have arisen after several members of senior management sold large portions of stock at extremely high prices immediately after the company's IPO, whilst early investors and employees were still in lockout and unable to sell.

Schappert was one of the executives who profited most from this tactic, shifting 322,00 shares, around 45 per cent of his stake, at $12 a share to net $3.9 million. Pincus is reported to have 16.5 million shares for $200 million; Zynga CFO David Wehner 386,000 shares for $4.6 million; and Zynga general counsel Reginald Davis 315,000 shares for $3.8 million.

Investment partners also shed stock at the high prices before it crashed to around $3 ($2.95 at time of writing), with Institutional Venture Partners selling 5.8 million shares for $70 million; Union Square Ventures 5.2 million shares for $62 million; Google and Silver Lake Partners 4 million shares each for $48 million; and Reid Hoffman, a private investor, 688,000 shares for $8.2 million.

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Latest comments (2)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
People do learn a lot when they go to Harvard for the MBA course.
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Gareth Lewis Programmerist 4 years ago
Not as much as they learn from having a 'go' in a real company ;)
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