Kara Swisher

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Don Mattrick Debuts as New Zynga CEO, With Loss Expected in Q2


Former Microsoft Xbox head and new Zynga CEO Don Mattrick will helm his first quarterly report and conference call later today, after the company’s founder and former CEO Mark Pincus removed himself from the top job several weeks ago.

Unfortunately for Mattrick, the San Francisco online gaming company is expected to report a second-quarter loss of seven cents per share, a decline from last year. On an adjusted basis, the loss will be less. Revenue is also expected to be down, around $185 million. Zynga will report after the markets close.

Such lackluster results might be the new normal for a while, with Zynga still in turnaround mode as it seeks to find lucrative new businesses, especially in mobile.

The tone and tenor of the new leader will be much watched by Wall Street, which will be interested in what Mattrick has in store. And although the Q2 results are not under his watch, Mattrick has already been at the job since July 8, working at its HQ in the city, having moved his family from up north to a house he owns in Silicon Valley.

One can expect a tougher message from Mattrick, who has a lot of experience in turnaround situations, and very little sugar-coating of the difficult situation that the company finds itself in now.

He might not get too specific, though, such as whether or not he will preside over additional staff reductions. Such cuts had already started under Pincus, who laid off more than 500 employees in June.

Pincus will apparently be on the call later today at the start, but only for a short while, as it will clearly be Mattrick’s show from now on.

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— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”