Zynga Shrugs Off Losses as Two More VPs Leave

Zynga Vice Presidents Bill Mooney and Brian Birtwistle have left the company, representing two of the latest high-level managers to leave.

Bloomberg first reported the exits, but did not know where they were headed.

Zynga declined to confirm the departures, but offered a lengthy statement regarding the company’s low attrition rate, saying, “[I]t’s not at all surprising that some would move on and or retire post-IPO.”

However, it’s hard to ignore the exits as they begin to stack up just nine months after going public.

I started hearing weeks ago that competitors had started to see a flood of resumes from the social game maker as the stock has tanked. According to LinkedIn, Birtwistle was at the company for slightly less than two years, serving as VP of marketing. Bill Mooney, who was at the company for four and a half years, listed himself as being a studio VP at Zynga’s Game Network most recently.

Two days ago, Mike Verdu, the company’s chief creative officer, announced he was leaving to start his own mobile game company, which Zynga was backing.

Other recent employees to leave include: Chief Operating Officer John Schappert; Alan Patmore, general manager of CityVille, who left to work at Kixeye; Erik Bethke, a general manager who oversaw Mafia Wars 2; Ya-Bing Chu, a VP in Zynga’s mobile division; and Jeremy Strauser, a general manager.

Verdu said on Tuesday that his exit is bad timing.

“I personally don’t want to add to the noise level,” he said. “I think this will be a good thing for me and for Zynga. … I’m concerned about how this might be viewed with what else is going on, but it’s not a function of anything else going on at the company.”

In a statement, Zynga spokeswoman Dani Dudeck, said: “Zynga’s voluntary attrition rate was around 1 percent for the first four years, and our current attrition levels are not only below what we expected and modeled in our post-IPO planning, they continue to stay well below the industry average. Developing great leaders is an essential part of Zynga’s core values — we’re proud of our record in that regard — and it’s not at all surprising that some would move on and or retire post-IPO. Zynga continues to lead the industry with the top talent in social game development. We’re proud of the teams working hard to create the next generation of social games including the recent launches of The Ville, ChefVille and the coming launch of FarmVille 2.”

Some of the employees have seemingly innocent reasons to leave the company, like Verdu, but the number of people leaving won’t help the company’s stock price.

Shares are down 2.3 percent, or 7 cents, to $2.89, which is right above the company’s all-time low of $2.66 a share.


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