Even as Zynga comes to terms with the round of multiple resignations, the latest one to follow suit is Mike Verdu, Chief Creative Officer of the social gaming company. Other executives who recently left the firm include chief operating officer, John Schappert, and general managers Alan Patmore, Eric Bethke, Ya-Bing Chu, and Jeremy Strauser. Verdu has handed in his resignation and plans to set up his own company. The creators of popular social games such as Farmville, Zynga’s stock prices have tumbled down to 20 percent of its peak value from the first half of the year.
In his parting blog post, Verdu thanks his colleagues at Zynga for all of their support and encouragement, and expressed pride on having seen the company transform into a “vibrant community of game designers, producers and creative leaders”. As Verdu transitions out and tries his hand at being an entrepreneur, his roles will be looked after by a team of three creative leaders from within the firm – Brian Reynlods, Tim LeTourneau, and Bill Jackson.
Although sources within the firm insist that Verdu’s departure is solely because he wished to create his own mobile gaming company, his timing could not be more unfortunate for Zynga. Zynga has blamed Facebook’s recent algorithm modifications for its poor performance in recent times, causing delays in releasing new products to market. The company, which was already battling tumbling stock prices, now finds itself without sufficient senior management, making it even harder to convince the 3000 odd employees to stay on. Even the recently authorized release of 43 million new shares as an incentive might not be adequate to retain employees in these troubled times.
Zynga went public in December 2011 and was initially valued at $8.9 billion. However, after the stocks took a beating, its value dropped down to $2.3 billion, on account of a weak earnings report. For now, the company will have to focus more on bringing out new products to the market after overcoming the delays and work towards maintaining faith among its employees about its future.