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Another top Zynga executive, Mike Verdu, departs

Zynga on Tuesday said Chief Creative Officer Mike Verdu has left the San Francisco social gaming company.

Verdu’s announcement follows a string of high-level executive departures in recent months as the social gaming giant struggles to keep up its once-torrid pace of revenue and audience growth.

Others who have left Zynga include John Schappert, its former chief operating officer, and Alan Patmore, who was the general manager of one of Zynga’s top games, “CityVille.”

In addition, Erik Bethke, who was general manager of “Mafia Wars 2,” Ya-Bing Chu, vice president in Zynga’s mobile division, and Jeremy Strauser, a general manager who oversaw development studios responsible for “Zynga Bingo” and several other casino games, also left this summer, according to Bloomberg. Zynga did not comment on the status of Strauser, Bethke or Chu. Strauser updated his LinkedIn profile to show that he had left Zynga earlier this month.

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At three years and three months, Verdu’s tenure at Zynga was relatively long for the 5-year-old company. Much of Zynga’s hiring binge occurred in the last year, and the employee count stands at more than 2,800.

Verdu, who is starting his own game company, appears to be leaving on good terms with Zynga, which will be an investor in Verdu’s new firm.

“Mike has been a good friend to me personally as well as professionally, and has been an influential creative leader to us all,” said Zynga Chief Executive Mark Pincus. “Zynga will be on the ground floor with Mike on his next venture as an investor in his new start-up.”

Zynga’s shares, which debuted at $10 in December on Nasdaq, have fallen from a high of $14.69 on March 2 to a low of $2.70 on Aug. 2. Shares gained 2 cents to close at $3.08 on Tuesday, but fell 5 cents to $3.03 in after-hours trading following the announcement of Verdu’s departure.

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