April 26, 2011

Zynga Poaches EA’s Chief Operating Officer

According to a Reuters report, Zynga has poached the chief operating officer of Electronics Arts Inc (EA).

One of the sources said that John Schappert will head up Zynga's game division.

Analysts told Reuters the social games company is gaining an executive with deep experience in leading a publicly traded video game company.

A regulatory filing released on Tuesday showed Schappert resigned from EA on Monday.  He worked at EA for 22 months, and before that at Microsoft Corp. for two years.

Schappert will join Zynga's senior management team alongside Chief Executive Mark Pincus, Executive Vice President Owen Van Natta and Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner.

Schappert previously held the number 2 position at EA.  Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter told Reuters he will be instrumental in helping Pincus develop a fast growing company.

Zynga has expanded rapidly through small acquisitions at the rate of about one a month in the last year as it seeks to dominate the casual gaming market.

Zynga has tapped senior executives from major technology and Internet firms like Cisco Systems Inc. and Yahoo Inc. as it beefs up its executive talent in the last few months.

Zynga is reported to have raised about $500 million in its last round of funding, which put the company's value at $10 billion.

"If Zynga is serious about going public, they need someone who knows how to do it. They just grabbed a guy to give them what they were missing -- public management experience," Pachter told Reuters.

Schappert helped spearhead the effort to boost the company's digital business through games for mobile devices, as well as social games on Facebook.  EA said its on track to generate $750 million in digital revenue this year.


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