Sean Ryan, who joined News Corp. only six months ago, is leaving to take a gaming job at Facebook. Ryan will be be head of games partnerships, directing Facebook’s relationship with social gaming companies who have established the social network as a hugely successful outlet for their titles and have helped fuel its growth.
News Corp. (NSDQ: NWS) had hired Ryan in July to head up a new social games unit shortly after it purchased social gaming developer Irata Labs. His tenure was remarkably short, although Kara Swisher, who first reported on Ryan’s departure, says he had been in discussions about joining Facebook even before he took the News Corp. job. He will be replaced at News Corp. by John Welch, who joined the company after it purchased social games startup Making Fun in November.
Facebook has had an up and down relationship with the social games industry. Last spring, Zynga reportedly was preparing to exit the social network after negotiations with Facebook about how it would use the social network’s virtual currency system in its games fell apart. The two companies however settled their differences and Facebook has subsequently announced deals with many of the major social game developers to use Facebook Credits in their games.
In August, TechCrunch reported that Facebook was searching for a “head of games partnerships” who would “develop and enhance successful partnerships and influence internal and external partners and industry stakeholders in the Gaming industry.”
Prior to joining News Corp., Ryan led teen-centric virtual world Meez. He has also served as CEO of Listen.com and acting CEO of Live Journal.