Zynga COO Stripped of Game Development Duties

FarmVille - Video Game Still - 2011

The social game maker had hired John Schappert from Electronic Arts, but has changed reporting structures to address its growth challenges.

Social gaming firm Zynga has stripped COO John Schappert, who it had hired from video game giant Electronic Arts last year, of his oversight role for game development.

David Ko, who is in charge of Zynga’s mobile operations, and Steve Chiang, executive vp of games, are now reporting directly to CEO Mark Pincus instead of Schappert, according to Bloomberg News

The reorganization seems to be designed to revive growth and focus the company on mobile revenue opportunities after a disappointing second-quarter earnings report.

Schappert, whose pay package was worth $42.8 million, has internally taken some of the blame for Zynga’s underperformance, Bloomberg said, citing people familiar with the situation.

A Zynga spokeswoman declined to comment.

Wall Street analysts have in recent days reduced their stock ratings and price targets after the weak quarterly results. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield, who was previously a Zynga bull, downgraded his rating on the stock from "buy" to "neutral” and said "we are sorry and embarrassed by our mistake."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai