Earlier this month, former Zynga chief executive officer Mark Pincus stepped aside and happily appointed former Xbox chief Don Mattrick to the CEO position. Now, the new head at the social gaming publisher is ready to make changes, and he’s laying out his plan for the next 90 days at the company.
“I came to Zynga to lead this business and apply some of the experiences that I’ve had in the last 30 years to ensure the long-term success of this company is realized,” Mattrick said in a conference call with investors. “Zynga has incredible assets to take advantage of the market, and I believe its biggest days are ahead.”
Mattrick pointed out that despite Zynga’s shrinking market share, the overall social gaming scene is booming. He’s planning to squeeze the best results out of the company and its development teams.
“So here’s what I’m focused on in the next 90 days,” said Mattrick. “[I want to get] under the hood to evaluate every aspect of our business. [I will conduct] top-to-bottom business reviews and work with our leaders to calibrate against the market opportunity and to go after it with a real sense of urgency.”
Part of creating that sense of urgency is making his presence known. He’s set up his desk in the middle of the FarmVille studio’s floor at Zynga’s San Francisco headquarters.
“[I'm going to spend] time heads-down with our team and focus on improving our product quality,” he said. “[I want to look] at how we’re deploying people at all levels of the company, and I’m also going to use the next 90 days to assess and reset our product pipeline.”
Mattrick says he sees the potential in Zynga. He believes the company can regain its market share on Facebook and take advantage its IPs, its network, and its knowledge of mobile to navigate this transitional period.
“Zynga’s still a young company, and we have the capability to break some bad habits and get back to some good fundamentals,” said Mattrick. “And while my approach in the first few weeks is to listen and learn, when it becomes clear what change is necessary, I’ll move quickly and decisively to do what’s in the best long-term interests of our players, employees, and our shareholders.”
One of those decisive moves includes ceasing the pursuit of an online-gambling license in the United States. During its earnings report, Zynga revealed it won’t try to bring its real-money gambling operations to the U.S. Investors haven’t taken that news well, and the company is currently trading down 14 percent.
“The next few years will be a time of phenomenal growth in our space,” said Mattrick. “This is a relatively new market that has proven that a hit franchise can generate more than $1 billion dollars in bookings. From box office to music to console to TV – few things in the history of entertainment have grown as quickly while creating such incredible value. As our market grows, the hits are only going to get bigger. Zynga has incredible assets to take advantage of that growth and I believe its biggest opportunities are ahead.
“There are good winds at our back – my job is to get our sails up and Zynga pointed in the right direction.”
Zynga’s stock rallied when it announced that Mattrick is taking over. Now that it’s clear that the reins are his, he’ll have to start providing results if he wants to win back some of the value that Zynga’s stock has lost.
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