Zynga Chief Creative Officer Verdu Leaves to Start a Company

Zynga Inc. Chief Creative Officer Mike Verdu is departing to found a new company, adding to the list of top managers who have exited the social-game maker amid a stock-price decline and sales-growth slowdown.

“Being at Zynga in the early days reminded me of how much I love being an entrepreneur,” Verdu wrote in a company blog. “After a lot of soul-searching, I have decided to go back to my roots and start a new company.”

Verdu is at least the fifth manager leaving the company this month. Others include Ya-Bing Chu, a vice president, and Jeremy Strauser, a general manager, two people said last week. Through yesterday, shares of Zynga have declined 69 percent since the company’s December initial public offering, depressing the value of equity used to compensate staff. The stock fell 2.3 percent to $3.01 at 10:03 a.m. in New York.

Verdu, who joined Zynga more than three years ago from Electronic Arts Inc., previously co-founded game maker Legend Entertainment.

Zynga plans to invest in Verdu’s next startup, which will focus on mobile games, Dani Dudeck, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Zynga, said in an interview.

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