Zynga just announced that chief operating officer John Schappert is leaving the social gaming giant and its board of directors.
“We can confirm that John Schappert has left Zynga and its Board of Directors effective immediately,” said CEO Mark Pincus in a statement. “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.”
The news comes after a reorganization of the company that was revealed a week ago, in which Schappert lost his oversight of the company’s game development. The move reflects Zynga’s growing emphasis on mobile, with mobile now integrated into the existing web teams, and with David Ko, the company’s chief mobile officer, and Steve Chiang, executive vice president of games, both reporting directly to Pincus. And that news, of course, came after a dismal second quarter earnings report that even Zynga admitted was “challenging.”
Schappert joined Zynga as COO in April 2011. Before that, he was COO at Electronic Arts, and he held a number of positions at EA over a period of about a decade. During that time, he also spent two years as a vice president at Microsoft.
In case you want a head start on what analysts will say of the Schappert’s departure, well, we can guess preemptively based on their response to the reorg. Bloomberg quoted Richard Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG LLC, as saying that the company definitely needed a change, given that it’s in “absolute meltdown mode”, while Michael Pachter, the managing director of research for Wedbush Securities, said ”pulling a game guy out of the primary responsibility for managing the game effort” was “idiotic.”
You can read an interview we did with Schappert after Zynga’s IPO here.