Zynga Is Said to Lose Two Vice Presidents Amid Stock Tumble

Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) vice presidents Bill Mooney and Brian Birtwistle have departed, following other top managers amid slowing sales and a stock decline at the biggest maker of social games on Facebook Inc. (FB), a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Mooney, a vice president of studios who was general manager of the popular “FarmVille” game, and Birtwistle, a vice president of marketing, resigned this week, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the departures aren’t public.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Pincus has been unable to prevent defections as the company’s stock-price decline erodes the value of equity used to compensate staff. The CEO recently told employees they would receive option grants to help make up for a 71 percent slump in shares since Zynga’s December initial public offering. Investors are shunning the stock on signs that growth is slowing.

Five other managers who exited this month include Mike Verdu, Zynga’s former chief creative officer, who left to start his own company.

Zynga, founded by Pincus in 2007, has experienced lower turnover than other technology companies, Dani Dudeck, a spokeswoman for Zynga, wrote in an e-mailed statement.

“Zynga’s voluntary attrition rate was around one percent for the first four years, and our current attrition levels are not only below what we expected and modeled in our post-IPO planning, they continue to stay well below the industry average,” Dudeck wrote.

Going Distance

It’s not uncommon for some employees to move on at this stage in the life of a startup, said Bing Gordon, a Zynga director and partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, an investor in the company. That happened at Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc., Gordon said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

“When you have a brilliant founder who wants to go the distance, not everybody stays with him,” Gordon said.

Mooney, who worked on the Zynga Game Network, was hired from Lucasarts Entertainment Co. in 2008, according to his profile on LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD)’s site. Birtwistle, a former manager at Amazon.com, began at Zynga last year.

Zynga fell 2.3 percent to $2.89 at the close in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Douglas MacMillan in San Francisco at dmacmillan3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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