EA COO jumps ship for Zynga - Report

Less than two years after returning, John Schappert has once again left the megapublisher; Reuters reports his new gig is at social-game colossus.

John Schappert is a mover. In 2007, he was hired by Microsoft to head up its Xbox Live efforts. Less than two years later, he quit to return to former employer Electronic Arts as chief operating officer. Shortly thereafter, he helped arrange for the megapublisher's $275 million purchase of social game company Playfish in 2009.

Ex-EA COO John Schappert is headed for the exit…again.

The following year at the Game Developers Conference, Schappert said that social and casual gaming was the "hot" sector of the industry. "It's the place to be right now," he said. "But we'll see what happens tomorrow."

Now, just over a year later, Schappert has apparently decided social gaming is indeed the place to be. Reuters is reporting that the executive has now left EA to join social-game colossus Zynga. The news service had no details about what role he will play at the San Francisco-based company, but it did cite an unnamed source close to the matter as saying it would be an executive position.

Schappert's resignation was confirmed by a filing EA made with the Securities and Exchange Commission this morning. The brief document revealed that his last day at the Redwood City, California-based publisher was Monday, April 25, the day he tendered his resignation.

Schappert's apparent defection to Zynga comes less than six months after a report concluded that the privately held company is worth more than EA. According to SharesPost Inc., an exchange for shares of privately held companies, Zynga was then worth $5.51 billion--nearly $300 million more than the then-$5.22 billion market capitalization of EA on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Since then, Zynga's worth has increased, with some recent reports putting its value between $7 billion and $9 billion.

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Discussion

39 comments
gwailo2470
gwailo2470

I doubt having any executive from EA is a good thing for Zynga employees. Did EA let him bring his whip?

lock445
lock445

I think people just shift to where the money is 'a makin'... too bad for such a fragile industry as this one.

aermeus
aermeus

Good...im sure he played a major part in pushing Dragon Age 2 out the door after a 1.5 year developement cycle...

speedfreak48t5p
speedfreak48t5p

Too bad Zynga isn't leaving gaming. That would be nothing but good news for gaming if it happened.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

What a waste...... Zynga doesn't even make games, anyone who says what they make are games is fooling themselves.

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

I really hate it when people flame other gaming platforms or flame casual gamers but Zynga is where I make my exception. It is perfect that they are integrated with facebook because facebook is fake socializing just like Zynga is fake gaming. A game offers some sort of challenge, not just a giant non -challenging ditch to throw away your time and money.

McDog3
McDog3

@ Robfield. The answer is yes. Yes they do.

McDog3
McDog3

Well of course he's gone from EA for Zynga, it's all about that green paper to those big wigs...

xeridae
xeridae

Once Star Wars the Old Republic reports it profit a year or two from now this guy will be kicking himself in the face.

pakhair
pakhair

Wish EA improves after him getting out BUT it ain't happening :P

Daian
Daian

It makes me wanna throw up when i read that "boring-repetitive-waist of money-ville" maker is worth more than a top publisher/dev.

firedrakes
firedrakes

first off the amount their worth is speculative at best. seeing its a private company and their making last year $850 million

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

I'm going out on a limb to predict Zynga will be worth a whole lot less sometime within the next 24-36 months. I think people will get increasingly bored with their games and it would be interesting to track how much time their users spend with each successive game. Zynga grows as long as Facebook continues to grow but once that stops the clock starts ticking until a lot of these casual games go the way of the pet rock (and it wouldn't be the first time that gaming ends up crashing on the shores of the post-fad let down).

robfield
robfield

Do these executives see stock reports and just go where they think the most money is? Seriously, why would multimillion dollar companies hire employees with little to no loyalty? He was the operating officer! Does he have that little confidence in one of the biggest videogame publishers today!? Here's a description of COO: "The COO is normally responsible for anything that has to do with the products of the company. Specifically, inventory control, maintaining and exceeding quality standards, employee management, ensuring department heads stay on budget, warehousing, moving products out in a timely manner, installing systems, rules and regulations to make the organization run smoother and more efficiently, as well as removing bottlenecks from one segment of the operation which might impede the productivity of another." I highly doubt most operating officers are directly responsible for managing any of that.

hyksiu
hyksiu

@RufusChambers Ok foo.

Delston
Delston

@hyksiu COO = Chief Operating Officer

Cwagmire21
Cwagmire21

Off from Mass Effect and Dragon Age and on to.... Bakery Story and Words with Friends?

MaxCadillac
MaxCadillac

Another thought: Schappert is being deployed by EA subversively to later integrate EA and Zynga. You heard it here first.

RufusChambers
RufusChambers

@hyksio ICE COLD! I can't hear ya! I said "What's COO'er than being COO'!?" ICE COLD!!!!!

NColdhardt
NColdhardt

Schappert is doing what he does best. Following money.

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

He is going over to tend crops with all the "friends" he has accumulated but actually never met before . And people say Nintendo is for kids.

BuiltForSin
BuiltForSin

@nocoolnamejim Most likely delusion unfortunately. EA took in Bioware for one reason only.. to bring in more mainstream friendly RPG cash cows, not cater to a niche crowd on their dime. Deep down we all know Bioware would be watered down and dismantled before it will ever be allowed to run off into a dark corner of the market again.

thunder_knight
thunder_knight

Perhaps Schappert has moved over to Zynga in an allaborate attempt to sabotage them, he will slowly infect them with calls for money, drugs, hookers and blackjack and they will spontaneously combust.. what??!??! ! i can dream....

scorpgul
scorpgul

Social gaming needs to die before it further damages gaming

nocoolnamejim
nocoolnamejim moderator

Hmm. Someone whose primary focus is social and casual gaming leaves EA. Could this be a sign that maybe, just maybe, EA has made some decisions to back off a bit on this? Dare I hope that maybe now they'll leave Bioware the hell alone and let Bioware get back to focusing on their core fanbase again? I dare to dream. Probably delusional, but one can always hope right?

Marky360
Marky360

Well good for John Schappert it's nice to see successful people in the gaming industry move of the business ladder maybe now politicians will realize this industry isn't just child's play with how much money that is being made in it

WllDan7
WllDan7

Executives are mostly greedy. They just go to where ever the money is.

Hokusai
Hokusai

Who is the heck is this guy? Who cares? Yet another over payed nobody who is helping to absolutely ruin gaming as we know it through his selfish mismanagement and lack of caring. Another shadow in the dark making decisions that affect everybody who loves to game...who would have known.

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

Oh how the mighty shalt fall once people realise its just a fad. Same with Bebo, Myspace and assorted others... Give it time...

Kan0nF0dder
Kan0nF0dder

These top CEO's think they can get away with behaving like sportsmen, shopping for bigger contracts all the time...

pokecharm
pokecharm

it is curious why he's jumping ship so quickly...it isn't good for your resume to keep changing jobs...but something tells me, at his level, it doesn't matter.

RossRichard
RossRichard

I am sure I speak for everyone when I ask, who the F is John Schappert???

Valacan
Valacan

EA would rather be Zynga? Why am I not surprised.

ColonelVodka
ColonelVodka

This guy isn't Tiger Woods, so I don't care. I mean this guy isn't cool. He doesn't do anything outrageous. There's nothing interesting about this story, or this man.