Earlier today, AllThingsD broke the news that Zynga was hiring Microsoft’s Don Mattrick to join its executive group. The speculation tilted towards his installation as CEO of the troubled gaming company. Zynga confirmed after the bell that Mattrick will take over the role of chief executive, with current leader Mark Pincus stepping down.
Mattrick will also join Zynga’s board.
Pincus won’t leave the firm however, in a note sent to employees that was also provided to the press, he stated that he will stay on at the firm as chariman of its board, and as chief product officer. Why the move? In his own view, Pincus says that he has always had the “greatest impact working as an entrepreneur with product teams.” Also, the company was in sore need of a shakeup after its post-IPO period erased billions of shareholder equity as Zynga’s stock price cratered.
Zynga’s shares flew this morning following the news of the hire and the potential CEO shuffle. The company rose over 10% in regular trading, and is up another 3% in after-hours trading. Investors clearly like what they see.
The loser in this change is Microsoft, who just lost Mattrick at a time in which his division is preparing to release a new console. Earlier, Microsoft declined to comment.