Former Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business president Don Mattrick left the company for social developer Zynga ahead of an internal reorganization that would not bolster his role with the company, according to a profile of Mattrick by Fast Company.
Fast Company reports that Mattrick's departure from Microsoft was announced just days ahead of a "massive" reorganization that would place him in charge of the newly-created Xbox One hardware division. The report states his decision to leave was because in the shakeup he would not be given a bigger role within the company, and suggests that because Microsoft did not announce a replacement for Mattrick, they were unaware of his planned departure.
Mattrick's role at Zynga will be to help "turn the ailing company around." After the first reports of his new role surfaced yesterday, shares of the social developer jumped 11 percent.
The profile also touches on Mattrick's history in game development. At the age of 17 he developed his first game, and his work inspired Test Drive, the industry's pioneer first-person driving game. During his time at Electronic Arts, Mattrick had a hand in development on the Need for Speed series and The Sims, and championed personalization features in the company's sports titles. Mattrick's time at Microsoft was spent pushing to add entertainment services to the Xbox console and motion control technology that would become the Kinect. Many of the profile's anecdotes paint the executive as being ambitious, driven and a man who "loves spectacle," with a particular fondness towards rainbow-striped socks.
Early yesterday, reports began circulating that Mattrick, who oversaw Microsoft's Xbox division and headed the Xbox One reveal, was leaving the company for Zynga. Later that day, Zynga CEO Markus Pincus announced the move was official, stating Mattrick would become the social and mobile developer's new CEO as of July 8. Currently, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will take over Mattrick's role until a replacement is found.