GamesBeat

Zynga confirms it hired EA’s Jeff Karp as marketing and sales chief

Confirming previous reports, Zynga verified that it poached another Electronic Arts executive. Jeff Karp, who was formerly executive vice president at EA Play, has joined Zynga as chief marketing and revenue officer.

Under his new role, Karp will oversee all aspects of marketing at the social gaming company, which has been able to recruit a number of traditional video game executives in part because of its fast growth and upcoming initial public offering.

Before Karp, Zynga hired away John Schappert, the former No. 2 executive at EA. Karp will also optimize and drive revenue with game studios and oversee international sales.

AT EA, Karp was in charge of the label that is home to the billion-dollar properties such as The Sims, SimCity, Spore and MySims. (EA Play now falls under the management of EA executive Frank Gibeau, who aslo manages the company’s sports and hardcore games). At EA, Karp had to manage tasks such as setting the roadmap for development studios, defining the product plan, managing the profit and loss statement, and delivering the games to audiences around the world.

Karp was also a leader in the EA Games label and held a variety of positions at EA over 11 years.

As we’ve noted before, Zynga has been successful at raiding EA’s talent pool in part because it has considerable market potential, even though it’s a private firm. Zynga can hand out shares of the company in the form of stock options, and those options could become extremely valuable if Zynga goes public, as it has announced it plans to do. This could be a powerful motivator for EA executives.

Other former EA executives who have joined Zynga are Steve Chiang, Mark Skaggs and Colleen McCreary. Of course, EA still has more than 7,000 employees, while Zynga has closer to 2,500, so not everyone is jumping ship. But when company leaders leave, it’s worth noting.


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