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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."

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