Mike Isaac

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Zynga Names Clive Downie as New COO

Zynga on Thursday announced the appointment of Clive Downie as the social gaming company’s new chief operating officer.

Downie will be responsible a number of Zynga’s departments, many of which were shuffled and restaffed as the result of a reorganization by new CEO Don Mattrick in August. The company’s publishing, live operations, communications, human resources and business development heads will all report to Downie.

Downie comes most recently from his position as CEO of DeNA West, a title which he held for almost exactly one year. Two years before that, Japanese gaming giant DeNA bought his previous company, Ngmoco, for $400 million.

Prior to these positions, Downie spent more than a decade and a half at Electronic Arts in various roles, and also worked for toy giant Mattel.

It’s a crucial hire for CEO Mattrick, who in his first few months in office cleared out much of the company’s senior staff — including Zynga’s head of HR, its CTO and, most notably, the company’s previous COO, David Ko.

In his new hire, it’s likely that Mattrick, who has known Downie for years, is looking for someone with extensive mobile and social gaming experience — an area in which Zynga has much ground to gain over the coming quarters.

Downie begins work at Zynga on Nov 4.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik