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Zynga loses 12 executives in less than two months
Zynga loses 12 executives in less than two months
September 19, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

September 19, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Social/Online, Business/Marketing

Anyone keeping tabs on Zynga these past few months has surely noticed a bit of a pattern: Major executives have been stepping down left and right, particularly since the company reported a weaker-than-expected second quarter.

The company's lost influential figures including EA veteran John Schappert, CityVille general manager Alan Patmore, and creative lead Mike Verdu, and the list of departures grew even longer today, as TechCrunch reports that chief security officer Nils Puhlmann recently filed his resignation.

Zynga has given no official explanation as to why so many employees have jumped ship, but a company spokesperson recently told AllThingsD that Zynga actually has a low attrition rate, noting, "[I]ts not at all surprising that some would move on and or retire post-IPO."

Despite the company's statement, however, the mounting departures have become very hard to ignore. Since Zynga filed its second quarter earnings report on July 25, at least 12 executives have left their posts.

To help make sense of it all, we've compiled a list of the major executives that have left Zynga since that date. Please note that this list only includes departures that were reported to the public:

- John Schappert, chief operating officer. He left EA to join Zynga in 2011, and was stripped of most of his responsibilities just a few days before filing his resignation.

- Alan Patmore, general manager of CityVille. Patmore has since moved on to join Kixeye, the studio behind Backyard Monsters and other core-focused social games.

- Mike Verdu, chief creative officer. As one of the company's top creative executives, Verdu helped shape major Zynga games such as Empires & Allies, FrontierVille, and CastleVille.

- Bill Mooney, studio vice president. In addition to serving as one of Zynga's VPs, Mooney was also a general manager on the original FarmVille.

- Brian Birtwistle, vice president of marketing.

- Erik Bethke, general manager of Mafia Wars 2.

- Ya-Bing Chu, vice president of mobile.

- Jeremy Strauser, general manager at Zynga Austin.

- Allan Leinwand, chief technical officer. He was one of the primary architects of Zynga's zCloud, and has since joined the IT firm ServiceNow.

- Jeff Karp, chief marketing and revenue officer.

- Wilson Kriegel, business and marketing executive. Kriegel first joined Zynga as the chief revenue officer for Omgpop, the studio behind Draw Something.

- Nils Puhlmann, chief security officer. Puhlmann joined Zynga in 2009, and served as a major part of its security team.

Be sure to keep an eye on Gamasutra for more, as we'll keep you updated on Zynga as more details come to light.

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Rachel Presser
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Perhaps this is the time to question the long-term sustainability of both social games and the F2P model.

Randen Dunlap
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Not entirely sure if this is a result of failing F2P models and the over saturation of social games on the market, or bad business practices with a little bit of karma coming back on them. More than likely, it's a combination of all of it. Will be watching closely.

Saul Gonzalez
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Zynga is dead. Long live F2P.

Nathan Zufelt
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How will they ever make games without all of these VP's and managers??

Dave Troyer
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@Randen - The market has been flooded with social media and F2P games. With that, Zynga and others are having a difficult time staying on top of things. I'd say that you're right in thinking it's a combination of them all, making a sort of deadly storm of budget game play and micro transactions.

I imagine many other social media and casual type game studios are having just as many financial problems since the value and demand of their product is being driven pretty far down with a sprawling, saturated market.

I'll be keeping my eye out for more, too.

Ramin Shokrizade
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I predicted and explained this trend back in July of 2011:

The paper is 13 pages long but gives a good explanation for what is occurring now in the space, and not just with Zynga.