Zynga appoints ex-Genentech CFO to the board

Louis J. Lavigne has "deep experience in business transformation" says the business in pressing need of transformation

Zynga has added Louis J. Lavigne to its board, a veteran executive who was Chief Financial Officer at the biotech firm Genentech for 23 years.

Lavigne is currently managing director of Lavrite, a management consultancy, but his reputation is principally built on his long tenure at Genentech, from 1988 to 2005. His time there won him awards, and resulted in positions on the boards of a wide variety of companies, mainly in the medical and financial industries.

With no experience in gaming, Lavigne may not seem to be an ideal fit for Zynga, but a statement from CEO Mark Pincus offered some insight into the thinking behind the move.

"Lou brings deep experience in business transformation," he said, reiterating the company's mission to, "connect the world through games and deliver the best experiences for our players."

And "business transformation" is exactly what Zynga requires right now. That responsibility was once on the shoulders of former Xbox boss Don Mattrick, who took the role of CEO in July 2013, talking up the company's unrealised potential. He certainly didn't shrink from the challenge, making bold decisions like the $527 million acquisition of NaturalMotion and the closure of Zynga China.

However, those decisions didn't stop the company from losing money, and Mattrick walked away from the role earlier this month. Both arriving at the company and when leaving it, Mattrick was very well paid indeed.

Zynga's stock price still hasn't recovered from the 10 per cent drop it suffered in the wake of Mattrick's departure. The appointment of a Lavigne won't change that on its own, but it may help to restore a little confidence among its investors.

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