Why 'the majority' of Zynga's management team left after Mattrick arrived

Since Don Mattrick became CEO in July 2013, most of Zynga's management team has left the company, Mattrick said during an interview at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Technology Conference.

"The majority of our team has turned over," Mattrick said of the developer best known for Ville games FarmVille and Words with Friends.

The CEO and former Electronic Arts and Xbox executive said that he spent his early days at Zynga meeting his new employees. They spoke about what they did, how they feel about the company and more. From his earliest days at the company, he spoke about how the company's need to "break some bad habits" and conduct "top-to-bottom business reviews" at the developer.

"And we've candidly de-cluttered some of the measures that we’ve gone through," he said. "We’ve taken a couple of layers of reporting structure out of our org. So two layers are gone. We were 2,650 people when I joined. We went down to 1,800 people inside of Zynga in January-ish time frame. We acquired a company based out of Oxford predominantly that added 270 people to the mix and we’ve on boarded some very sophisticated, very seasoned senior people who are capable of running a company 5x to 10x the size of what Zynga is currently.

"David [Lee] has come from Best Buy, Alex [Garden] has come from Microsoft, Clive [Downie] has come from [DeNa and EA] blah, blah, blah. So we now have the team in place and we’ve also reached into the org, met with senior people and really said hey, do we have you plugged into the right project? Are you here to lead, to have a impact into the future and come up with ownership and social contracts about supporting people and generally getting the place switched on.

Mattrick was referring in part to Zynga's January 2014 decision to lay off 314 employees and its acquisition of the Oxford U.K.-based Clumsy Ninja developer NaturalMotion, whose long development cycle he also discussed.

"So I saw that company as the best independent creator with the best pipeline of proven hits and future hits that we could buy," he said. "And it'll take time for them to ship the things that are new, it'll take time for them to iterate in on CSR [Classics] and Clumsy [Ninja]. But I think that everything that I’ve seen and our team seen is encouraging and I believe in the long term value premise."

More from Polygon

The horror of Five Nights at Freddy's

  • Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King Overview

  • Spacecom: a fast 4X built for multiplayer

  • Pillars of Eternity builds on role-playing classics

  • Tour the 1 KB hard drive built inside Minecraft

Latest Discussions

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.