Jeff Karp, chief marketing and revenue officer at Zynga (News - Alert), has announced his resignation in a recent filing with regulatory officials, marking the latest C-level departure for the company.
While Zynga itself is trying to remain upbeat in the face of this newest departure, it's clear something is wrong in the firm.
Karp represents the eighth such departure since early August, following a second-quarter earnings report that showed not only that sales were slowing, but that earnings had missed analyst expectations.
Though Karp will remain with Zynga in a non-officer capacity, this is only set to be for another 11 days, his departure set to hit September 22. Worse: stock prices were down catastrophically, losing 70 percent of their IPO value, which itself had only launched in December.
Out to preserve its talent base, Zynga announced equity grants to full-time employees, but with the stock value collapsing, just how effective it is, is unclear.
Zynga itself – based on an e-mail statement from Dani Dudeck, a Zynga spokeswoman – has already realigned the divisions formerly under Karp and expects to carry on as normal. Yet all is not well under the surface at Zynga, as the executive vice president of human resources at EA, Gabrielle Toledano, said they'd not only seen an uptick of resumes from Zynga staffers, but also staged interviews, made offers and even hired a few now-former Zynga staff.
The exact extent of the trouble at Zynga is largely unknown, but the signs of significant problem are there. A company whose shares lose 70 percent of their value in nine months, as well as losing several key figures like Karp – and Mike Verdu, former chief creative officer – is not what anyone would call healthy.
The outstanding lawsuits don't help either, considering Karp is one of those personally named in one of the lawsuits, as well as John Schappert, who also recently departed the company. Adding all these separate points together yields a rather depressing overall picture. Healthy companies generally don’t see this kind of departure – or this kind of drop in stock price.
It could be that Zynga has something in mind to turn around its declining fortunes. It could be that it’s got the next World of Warcraft on deck right now, ready to go and make Zynga a big deal again. But if they do have something in mind, they'd better pull it out of the bag quickly, because things are not looking good overall.
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Edited by Braden Becker