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Zynga executives exit game maker

Slow growth dragging stock down

Gulf News

San Francisco: At least four Zynga Inc managers have departed this month as the online game maker grapples with slowing growth and a slumping share price that lessens the value of compensation, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Erik Bethke, a general manager who oversaw “Mafia Wars 2”, said in an interview that he left this month. Alan Patmore, a general manager of the popular “CityVille” game left to work at Kixeye Inc, the company said yesterday in a statement. Ya- Bing Chu, a vice president in Zynga’s mobile division, and Jeremy Strauser, a general manager, also resigned this month, said two people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be named because the departures haven’t been announced.

Zynga has declined 68 per cent since the company’s December initial public offering, depressing the value of equity used to compensate staff. Chief Executive Officer Mark Pincus gave option grants to all full-time employees in an effort to stem turnover, a person with knowledge of the matter said this month.

Chu and Strauser did not respond to requests seeking comment.

“Zynga continues to lead the industry with the top talent in social-game development,” Dani Dudeck, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Zynga, said in an e-mailed statement. “We’re proud of the teams working hard to create the next generation of social games.”

Bethke, who joined Zynga in 2009 when the company acquired his gaming startup, GoPets, said he’s taking a break from work.

Zynga increased 2 cents to $3.27 (Dh12) at the close in New York. The stock has lost 65 per cent this year.

The company said on August 8 that John Schappert is departing as chief operating officer and board director. A management overhaul had stripped him of oversight of key operations.

Pincus kicked off the reorganisation in July to revive growth and help the company better capitalise on the switch to game-playing on mobile devices. The company reported second-quarter sales and profit last month that fell short of analysts’ predictions. It said changes by Facebook made it harder for users to find existing games.