Don Mattrick stepping down as President of Xbox? (Update: He is now CEO of Zynga)

zynga_vertBox_CMYK_masterAll Things Digital is reporting that Don Mattrick, President of Xbox, is set to be stepping down to take a role at Zynga.

While the news is all but confirmed, everything seems to be a go, as the announcement of Mattrick’s resignation could be made as early as today, after markets close.

This might be a fitting move considering that the Xbox One was met with wide-spread negativity because of its always-online and anti-consumer measures regarding second-hand games. Is Don being force out of Microsoft or is he heading for greener pastures?


Zynga has confirmed that Don Mattrick will be joining their board of directors as CEO for the company. Don will begin at Zynga on July 8th, in one week, which gives him about that much time to take a vacation and have his things cleared from his Redmond, Washington digs. That’s all we really know right now, though Mark Pincus, founder of Zynga, released a statement to the company and the press announcing the new hire:

To our Zynga employees, players and shareholders,

Today is a big day. I’m excited to announce that Don Mattrick will be joining us as Zynga’s new CEO and member of our Board. I wanted to let you all know why I made the decision to recruit Don and what I think it means for all of us.

Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all that we have achieved together as a company. We have pioneered social gaming and helped make Play a core part of millions of people’s lives. But Zynga has so much more potential ahead, the opportunity to be an Internet Treasure and deliver on our mission of connecting the world through games.

As I reflect on the past six years, I realize that I’ve had the greatest impact working as an entrepreneur with product teams, developing games that could entertain and connect millions.

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.

If you’re not familiar with Don, he’s an entertainment and game industry innovator who’s been making products and scaling teams and businesses for the last 30 years. Don’s had major leadership roles at Microsoft, Electronic Arts and Distinctive Software, which he founded when he was 17 years old.

Don is unique in the game business. He can execute in multiple domains – hardware, software and network, and he’s been the person responsible for game franchises like “Need for Speed,” “FIFA” and “The Sims.” He’s one of the top executives in the overall entertainment business and he’s a great coach who has inspired people to do their best work and build strong, productive teams.

He deeply understands the value of a network and the importance of creating lifelong consumer relationships. He turned Xbox into the world’s largest console gaming network, growing its installed base from 10 to 80 million and transformed that business from deep losses to substantial profits. And he has grown the Xbox Live player network from 6 to 50 million active members.

Going forward I’ll continue in my role as Chairman and Chief Product Officer. I’m excited to partner with Don and the rest of our team to return Zynga to its leadership role in inventing and growing Play as a core human experience.

Don officially starts next week; however he’ll be joining me tomorrow to host an All-Hands meeting so you can all have an opportunity to meet him and ask any questions. Please feel free as always to post your questions and vote up questions on our Zyntranet here.

Thanks and see you tomorrow.


Zynga is, of course, facing some troubles, and Don was brought on to turn these things around. From Pincus’ press release, it looks like Don’s vacation will have to wait as the company’s new CEO will be hosting an all-hands meeting at the company’s offices tomorrow. Pincus will remain on the board as Chairman and Chief Product Officer.

Developing story…