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Why Microsoft’s XBOX Chief Don Mattrick Is The Best CEO For Zynga Now

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42webDon Mattrick is next week taking over the helm of Zynga as current CEO Mark Pincus relinquishes the office to be the firm’s Chairman and Chief Product Officer.

The problem brief

Zynga has had massive lay offs, waning shares and falling business both on the web and on social network Facebook.

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Here is the magic.

Don Mattrick was president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment unit- call him the Xbox boss. But just being Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment unit doesn’t bring the whole magic but look here.

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When he was just 17 years old, Don founded Distinctive Software which was later acquired by Electronic Arts. At EA, Don headed its global studios and research and development and run all the shit involved.


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According to Mark Pincus, “Don is unique in the game business. He can execute in multiple domains – hardware, software and network, and he’s been the person responsible for game franchises like “Need for Speed,” “FIFA” and “The Sims.” He’s one of the top executives in the overall entertainment business and he’s a great coach who has inspired people to do their best work and build strong, productive teams.”

Mark added, “He deeply understands the value of a network and the importance of creating lifelong consumer relationships. He turned Xbox into the world’s largest console gaming network, growing its installed base from 10 to 80 million and transformed that business from deep losses to substantial profits.  And he has grown the Xbox Live player network from 6 to 50 million active members.”

Before joining Microsoft in 2007, Don had had a succeful career in the gaming sector for over 30 years.

The Killer

Don had always wanted to return to Bay area and we hope he will love it at Zynga but Don’s shift to Zynga as its new CEO and board member is a death blow to Microsft as it prepares its Xbox baby.

Pincus who has been CEO since founding the gaming company six years ago will have a close eye on Don as he pushes fro several products and games from the firm. Don is the leader he needed to entrust the investors money and employees with so he can go and build some more games for us.

Mark said, “I’ve always said to Bing and our Board that if I could find someone who could do a better job as our CEO I’d do all I could to recruit and bring that person in. I’m confident that Don is that leader.”

Watch this video of Don’s childhood geeky business exploits.

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Sam Wakoba
Sam Wakoba
Taking you on tour through Africa's tech and business ecosystem, one story at a time since 2010! Based out of Nairobi, Kenya, Sam is the founder and managing director of Moran Media, which runs, various other digital platforms and a startup incubation hub for Kenya's youthful entrepreneurs. Drop me a mail at [email protected]

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