Mattrick will be taking over as CEO of Zynga starting on July 8. He is expected to work closely with current CEO and Zynga founder Mark Pincus, who will now be taking on the role of Chief Product Officer. Pincus will also stay on as Chairman of the Board.
Pincus and Mattrick are also expected to form a new Executive Committee within Zynga to manage operations and affairs between board meetings.
“Don is unique in the game business. He can execute in multiple domains – hardware, software and network, and he’s been the person responsible for game franchises like Need for Speed, FIFA and The Sims,” Pincus said in a press release. “He’s one of the top executives in the overall entertainment business and he’s a great coach who has inspired people to do their best work and build strong, productive teams.”
Since joining Microsoft in 2007, Mattrick has been a top voice for the Xbox brand. Prior to his job at Microsoft, Mattrick served in multiple top level positions for EA. He began working for EA when the company bought out his own game studio, Distinctive Software, in 1991. Mattrick was rumored to be going back to EA to fill the vacant role of CEO.
Microsoft has struggled with public relations for the upcoming Xbox One console. Mattrick delivered strong words for gamers who were not fond of the used game and always online policies originally planned for Xbox One. The company later changed their stance based on feedback from the community.
Zynga has found it difficult to keep up with the ever-changing mobile games landscape. Since hitting the Nasdaq Stock Market, the company has shut down studios including Draw Something developer OMGPOP. Zynga laid off 520 employees in June and has been forced to offer higher salaries to keep top executives.