Zynga Chief Marketer Jeff Karp Leaves in Staff Exodus

Latest to Depart as Stock-Price Drop Eats Away at Value of Compensation

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Zynga's Jeff Karp has resigned as chief marketing and revenue officer, becoming the latest executive to leave as a share-price decline erodes the value of staff compensation at the largest maker of social games played on Facebook.

Jeff Karp

Karp's departure, disclosed in a regulatory filing yesterday, follows at least seven other managers who have left since early August after a second-quarter earnings report missed analyst expectations and showed slowing sales at the game maker.

Zynga's stock has declined 72% since the company's December initial public offering, eroding the value of equity used to compensate staff. The company announced it would give equity grants to full-time employees after the earnings report to prevent a departure of talent, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month.

"Jeff Karp is leaving Zynga, and the groups in his organization have been realigned under appropriate existing divisions," said Dani Dudeck, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Zynga, in a statement yesterday.

Electronic Arts, the second-largest U.S. video-game publisher, said it had seen an increase in job applications from Zynga. "In recent weeks we've seen an increase in resumes from Zynga people," said Gabrielle Toledano, exec VP- human resources at EA, in a statement. "We've interviewed several people, made some offers and hired a handful of Zynga employees."

Mr. Karp, who will remain employed in a non-officer capacity through Sept. 22 , joined Zynga a year ago from Electronic Arts.

John Schappert, a former EA executive who last year was hired as chief operating officer at Zynga, departed the company last month after a management overhaul had stripped him of oversight of key operations.

Messrs. Karp and Schappert were named in a lawsuit EA filed against Zynga in August claiming copyright infringement. The complaint alleged that the executives had access to "sensitive design, development and strategic information" about EA games before leaving to join Zynga.

Another former EA executive, Mike Verdu, who joined Zynga in 2009, resigned last month to start his own game company.

~~Bloomberg News~~

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