The share price of Zynga stock shot up more than ten percent on a day that saw Microsoft executive Don Mattrick replace Mark Pincus as the struggling game maker’s CEO.
The company announced the news following the close of the stock market in a blog post titled “Big Day” that included a memo from Pincus in which he said he would stay on as Chairman and Chief Product Officer, but that:
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.
Zynga’s share price had its best day in a long-time, jumping more than ten percent on news of Mattrick’s arrival:
The stock rose further in after-hours trading. Since hitting a high of nearly $15 in March of 2012, Zynga shares have been a disaster, bumping along in the $2 to $3 range during the last year. The company’s latest games have been poorly received and Facebook, whose platform helped bring Zynga titles like Farmville and Mafia Wars to public attention, has broken its strategic ties with the company.
Many investors have placed hope for a turnaround on Zynga being able to gain a share of the emerging market for online gambling in the United States, which regulators banned several years ago but are now authorizing in some states. The arrival of Mattrick, who oversaw numerous hits on Microsoft’s X-box, may also give Zynga a chance to re-emerge as a force in the gaming industry.