Blog Post

Zynga Hires Yahoo’s Ko As Mobile Chief

David Ko, the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) SVP who left last week as part of an executive exodus, is joining Zynga as the social gaming giant’s head of mobile. At Yahoo, Ko most recently led all of the company’s content sites in North America, as well as Yahoo’s mobile initiatives. He had been promoted to that post last fall, after holding various senior-level positions in the company’s mobile business.

Zynga tells us that Ko, who will have the title of SVP of mobile, will report directly to CEO Mark Pincus. The company, which is best known for its games on social networking sites, has recently been trying to expand into mobile. Zynga has a dozen or so iPhone apps, and, this summer, began testing a way to let users play Mafia Wars via SMS. Zynga has been particularly aggressive on the mobile front in Asia, where it bought up Japanese mobile gaming firm Unoh in August and also entered into a mobile and social gaming joint venture with Softbank.

Ko is Zynga’s latest high-profile hire. In August, the company added Owen Van Natta, the MySpace (NSDQ: NWS) and Facebook veteran, as its EVP of business operations, and David Wehner, an investment banker at Allen & Co., as its CFO. Ko’s hiring was first reported by AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher.