Friday August 31,2012 : FORMER 888 EXEC TO JOIN SOCIAL GAMING GIANT
Ginzburg to be Zynga's COO responsible for new markets
In an appointment that perhaps signals yet again its ambitions in the real money internet gambling market, Zynga has appointed former 888.com executive Maytal Ginzburg as chief operating officer for new markets.
Reporting that the appointment has already been recorded on Ginzburg's Linked In page, AllThingsD notes that she was formerly the senior vice president responsible for regulated markets at 888 Holdings, where her duties included the acquisition of new players.
888 is reportedly in discussions with social network provider Facebook at present, and in 2010 acquired social and gaming firm Mytopia.
In an interview with the British publication Inside Poker Business earlier this year, Ginsburg opined that it was important to integrate social features into 888′s existing products in order to make interaction more welcoming to casual players.
“We want to attract players who will play for casual entertainment, and we therefore needed to deliver social platforms that are easy to use yet provide all the interactive features users expect,” she said. At the time she noted that 888's use of PokerCam was proving useful in encouraging interaction.
Approached for comment on the Ginsburg appointment, Zynga declined to provide a statement.
Zynga has seen a number of senior managers leave in recent times with creative director Mike Verdu and Chief Operating Officer John Schappert perhaps the most high profile.
At the beginning of August Zynga announced as part of a top management re-shuffle that Schappert would no longer oversee game development. Instead, Chief Mobile Officer David Ko and Executive Vice President of Games Steve Chiang, would take responsibility, reporting directly to founder and CEO Mark Pincus.
Barely a week later Zynga announced that Schappert – formerly a top level EA exec – had stepped down from the company and its board of directors, effective immediately but apparently in an amicable enough arrangement.
Schappert's golden parachute is reputed to be worth around $20 million in bonuses and stock options alone, and over twice that when looked at as a total package, an added burden for a company that has not been performing as well as investors expected.
More recently Chief Creative Director Mike Verdu announced his (again amicable) departure from Zynga to start up a new mobile games business, in which Zynga is apparently investing.
"Being at Zynga in the early days reminded me of how much I love being an entrepreneur," Verdu wrote in a company blog. "After a lot of soul-searching, I have decided to go back to my roots and start a new company."
Verdu was the fifth senior manager to depart Zynga, joining a list that includes Ya-Bing Chu, a vice president, and Jeremy Strauser, a general manager.
Verdu, who before Zynga was a three-year EA veteran, started out as an entrepreneur, founding game company Legend Entertainment.
Pincus remains committed to entering the real-money online gambling arena, commenting during the company’s last earnings call that Zynga's first real-money products were in development, and that there is a real opportunity for the company to leverage its strong casino, poker, bingo and slots on Facebook.
He indicated that Zynga's first real money gaming products would launch on international markets during the first half of 2013