Zynga Loses the Deal Guy Behind the Snoop Dogg Marketing Stunt

After three-and-a-half years at Zynga, Jonathan Flesher, VP of business development, has left the social games company, the latest in a string of resignations.

Jonathan Flesher

According to sources familiar with the move, Flesher’s last day was Nov. 9. He could not be reached for comment, but sources said he left for a mix of reasons. While increased family time was part of it, he’s also looking for new challenges and opportunities. A Zynga spokesperson did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

While at Zynga, Flesher worked on a number of partnerships, including deals with Yahoo, Google+, MSN and AOL. He also worked on securing celebrity deals with Lady Gaga and Snoop Dogg for in-game integrations or marketing stunts. Just recently, he inked an exclusive partnership with bwin.party, a real-money gaming operator in the U.K.

To be sure, much of Flesher’s role was behind the scenes, but clearly over the years he’s contributed meaningfully to both revenue and marketing efforts. He reported to Barry Cottle, who recently took over as chief revenue officer.

Flesher’s departure further depletes the ranks at the struggling company. The highest-profile recent exits have been those of CFO Dave Wehner and treasurer Mike Gupta. But over the last several months, a much wider swath of employees have decided to leave. Additionally, Zynga made the decision in October to trim five percent of its workforce involuntarily.

Over the past few months, Zynga has watched its stock price tank to single digits as it has failed to come up with a new hit game. At the same time, it is having to pivot from making games for Facebook to building games for smartphones and tablets. During the transition period, some employees are simply making the decision not to stick around and to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Flesher was directly responsible for Zynga’s partnership with Lady Gaga. Another member of his team was directly responsible for that deal.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work