In an unexpected corporate move, Microsoft Xbox chief Don Mattrick is moving to embattled game producer Zynga
, displacing CEO Mark Pincus in the role. Pincus is willingly vacating the position, but remaining on the board as chairman and the company's chief product officer. Mattrick assumes his new role next week, but will be participating in a discussion with the remaining company employees.
CEO Steve Ballmer informed
the Microsoft rank and file of the move earlier today, wishing Mattrick success in his new role. Career milestones for Mattrick include growing Xbox live from 6 million to 48 million, as well as pushing the Xbox 360 to the highest-selling console in the US for the last two years. No successor to his MS role has been announced.
In a statement to the company confirming the hire, Pincus said
that "I've always said to Bing and our Board that if I could find someone who could do a better job as our CEO I'd do all I could to recruit and bring that person in. I'm confident that Don is that leader."
After losing a large number of gamers on Facebook, Zynga laid off more than 100 employees in three locations in October
, and 500 more in June. Two insider trading suits
are still pending against the company, and follow investigations of Zynga staffers and CEO Mark Pincus.
Pincus and other high-ranking Zynga employees are accused of selling 43 million shares of stock in April at $12 per share, when employees and other early investors were banned from selling until May. By then, the stockholders claim, the business had already begun to slump.