Zynga founder Mark Pincus gives up day-to-day duties

Zynga's founder will remain the chairman and largest shareholder

Mark Pincus, who founded Zynga in 2007 and gave up his CEO title less than a year ago, is now giving up all his operational duties at the company.

Pincus will give up his title as chief product officer -- a role he stepped into just last July as the game company took a renewed focus on mobile. Pincus will stay on as Zynga's non-executive board chairman, the company announced on Wednesday.

Pincus will keep an office at Zynga and will be active in supporting the company, but he will not have an operating role, he said in a blog post of his own.

Pincus will also remain Zynga's largest shareholder, he noted.

The changes take effect immediately. A Zynga spokeswoman declined to comment further.

"I would like to thank Mark for his dedicated service to Zynga players, employees and shareholders since the company's founding in 2007," said CEO Don Mattrick, in a statement announcing the change alongside the company's first-quarter earnings results.

Zynga's sales for the period ended March 31 dropped by more than 35 percent compared to the same period last year, to US$168 million.

While at the company's helm, Pincus oversaw the development and growth of popular games such as "FarmVille," "Words With Friends" and "Zynga Poker."

Zynga's platform was originally tied to Facebook. Now the company is trying to stand out on its own and distinguish itself from a growing field of other mobile players, such as King.com, maker of "Candy Crush Saga."

Pincus' operational departure follows other management reshuffling at Zynga as the gaming company struggles to find its footing. Once one of Silicon Valley's hottest companies, Zynga has seen its user base dwindle in recent years as competition has grown, especially in mobile. To reduce costs, Zynga announced a number of layoffs last year. Mattrick, who formerly headed Microsoft's Xbox business, was brought on as CEO last year to turn things around.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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