Here’s something that is at once somewhat expected and a total surprise: Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, is no longer with the company. That’s not the surprising part, however — what is surprising is that he has been named the new CEO of Zynga.
The transition is expected to take place July 8.
Mattrick will be replacing Mark Pincus as CEO, but the now-former CEO said in a blog post that he won’t be leaving the former social gaming giant.
“Going forward I’ll continue in my role as Chairman and Chief Product Officer,” said Pincus. “I’m excited to partner with Don and the rest of our team to return Zynga to its leadership role in inventing and growing Play as a core human experience.”
News of Mattrick’s departure from Microsoft – and his new gig at Zynga – originally came from AllThingsD ahead of any confirmation from either company. Sources had told the site that confirmation should come at some point after the markets close.
Since then, Microsoft has confirmed the news as well.
“Thank you, Don, for setting us on a path to completely redefine the entertainment industry,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an email to employees. “The strong leadership team at IEB and their teams are well positioned to deliver the next-generation entertainment console, as well as transformative entertainment experiences, long into the future.”
Mattrick’s move to Zynga may come off as bizarre to some, but the former Microsoft executive said in another blog post on Zynga’s website that the reason he joined the company is because he respects their vision.
“I joined Zynga because I believe that Mark’s pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started,” wrote Mattrick. “As Mark was recruiting me to come here, I was impressed by his creativity, drive and the clarity in which he sees the future of games and entertainment as a core consumer experience.”