Zynga founder and recently reinstated CEO Mark Pincus is looking to rehire his former head of casino games.
Pincus (pictured praying), who last week announced he was returning to the CEO role after steering Don Mattrick to the exit, is reportedly in discussions to bring Marcus Segal (pictured on the right) back into Zynga’s fold. Bloomberg Business sources claimed Segal, a six-year Zynga vet who briefly headed up the company’s casino games division before leaving Zynga in March 2014, is “discussing an operational role” with the company.
Bloomberg’s sources said Segal wasn’t the only former Zynga exec that Pincus is looking to rehire. In addition to cutting a significant percentage of Zynga’s rank-and-file staffers, Mattrick oversaw a thorough house cleaning of Zynga’s executive ranks.
Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia suggested that many of the Mattrick’s new hires might not stick around now that Pincus has reasserted operational control of the company. Alex Garden, former head of Zynga Studios, left the company in March, although the news wasn’t confirmed until last week. Garden, who oversaw the botched rollout of the revamped Zynga Poker app, was handed responsibility for Zynga Casino in October 2014.
Pincus has yet to indicate whether he intends to reverse another of Mattrick’s notable moves as CEO, namely, the abandonment of real-money online gambling ambitions. Regardless, the bid to rehire Segal suggests Pincus understands that social casino apps are the way to keep revenue flowing while the company attempts to develop a new marquee game title and boost its mobile profile.
Social casino’s revenue generating ability is underscored by its domination of the top-grossing app charts. AppAnnie currently lists nine social casino titles in the 20 top-grossing iPad app chart, while Think Gaming has 10 casino titles in its top-20.
The only Zynga title currently nestled in AppAnnie’s top-20 is Hit It Rich! Slots, although the new Wizard of Oz Slots title is bubbling under. Zynga Poker HD currently ranks in the mid-70s while the original Poker title has slid down to the mid-90s. Zynga will release its Q1 earnings report on May 7.