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Zynga COO John Schappert resigns

Former EA and Xbox exec quits after being stripped of game duties

Zynga Schappert
Zynga Schappert
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Zynga COO John Schappert resigns.

Zynga's chief operating officer John Schappert has resigned from the social games maker, according to an SEC filing from the company. The resignation comes a week after Schappert was reportedly stripped of his duties in overseeing Zynga's game development.

According to Zynga, Schappert's departure was not tendered in connection with any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to Zynga's operations, policies, or practices.

"We can confirm that John Schappert has left Zynga and its Board of Directors effective immediately," said Mark Pincus, CEO and founder of Zynga in a statement to Polygon. "John has made significant contributions to the games industry throughout his career and we appreciate all that he has done for Zynga. John leaves as a friend of the company and we wish him all the best."

Last week, Electronic Arts filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Zynga, in which EA accused the maker of The Ville of blatantly copying its Facebook game The Sims Social. Schappert was specifically named in the suit as one of the key executives poached from EA to Zynga with "detailed, internal strategic plans and development information related to EA's effort to bring The Sims franchise to Facebook."

In July, Zynga's stock plummeted 40 percent after the company posted a quarterly loss and lowered expectations for the rest of the year. After the disappointing results, a half-dozen law firms began investigating the sale of company stock by Zynga investors and executives — including Schappert — during the quarter. At least one insider trading lawsuit has been filed.

Schappert was reportedly stripped of his game development oversight responsibilities as Zynga attempts to shift away from Facebook games and toward gaming on mobile devices.

John Schappert joined Zynga in April 2011. Prior to his brief stint at the company, Schappert served as COO of Electronic Arts and corporate VP at Microsoft, where he oversaw the Xbox Live business and Microsoft Game Studios. Schappert co-founded Madden NFL developer Tiburon Studios in 1994 before moving up the EA corporate ladder.

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