Former Zynga finance guru surfaces as video-chat company president

Wilson Kriegel was a part of Zynga’s high-profile OMGPOP acquisition and equally high-profile executive departure spree, and he has popped back up on the tech executive landscape. This time, he’s joined forces with New York City-based Paltalk, a webcam and mobile video chat app, as the company’s new president and chief operating officer.

We learned exclusively that Kriegel had left Zynga back in September. Kriegel was one of a boatload of Zynga executives who jumped ship immediately following a weak earnings report. Other notable departures included chief operating officer John Schappert, chief marketing officer John Karp, chief creative officer Mike Verdu, infrastructure chief technology officer Allan Leinwand, and general managers Eric Bethke, Jeremy Stauser, Ya-Bing Chu, and Alan Patmore.

Kriegel’s tenure at Zynga began in March with a splashy acquisition worth around $200 million. At that time, the Pictionary-like game Draw Something had quickly caught on, garnering 20.5 million daily active players, 37 million installs, and 2,000 drawings per second; it was also the most tweeted-about game in the (relatively brief) history of social mobile gaming. However, the game lost around 5 million players in the first few weeks after the acquisition.

Paltalk’s blog confirms Kriegel’s new position; Kriegel’s LinkedIn profile currently states his position as president and COO at a “stealth” video chat service in New York and says he’s held the position since November.

According to Kriegel’s new resume, he’s now in charge of Paltalk’s strategy, revenue, growth, product development, and marketing. Paltalk was founded in 1998 and currently employs fewer than 50 people.

Paltalk, which claims 4 million active members, uses a subscription-based revenue model. Chats can accomodate up to 10 simultaneous participants and include IM features.

While Paltalk claims it controls “the largest collection of video and audio based communities” on the web, it’s infinitesimally small potatoes compared to the likes of Zynga; we’re interested to see where Kriegel takes the company, given his experience with rapid growth and high-dollar exits.

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