Former Xbox chief Don Mattrick attempted to acquire Zynga in 2010

By on July 8, 2013, 1:15 PM
microsoft, xbox, zynga, xbox 360, social gaming, don mattrick, mark pincus

Zynga’s hire of Xbox chief Don Mattrick last week certainly seemed like a surprise at the time with many even speculating that he was forced out of Microsoft following the Xbox One always-on / used games debacle. As it turns out, however, Mattrick had ties with Zynga that date back at least three years.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Mattrick and Zynga founder Mark Pincus discussed the possibility of Microsoft purchasing the company back in 2010. The idea was that Zynga’s catalog could be used to boost the lineup of social titles on the Xbox.

Talks eventually fell through although Pincus and Mattrick remained in touch. It was this connection that ultimately led to the discussion of Mattrick joining Zynga as its CEO back in March. That of course means that Mattrick was already considering the position well before the Xbox One was announced – effectively invalidating the idea that he was pushed out the door by Microsoft in the wake of the console’s announcement.

Mattrick certainly has his work cut out for him at Zynga. The once dominant social games maker has relinquished its top spot on Facebook as it struggles to shift focus from browser-based games to mobile platforms.

Either way, the executive will be handsomely rewarded in his new position. Mattrick’s salary is set at $1 million annually in addition to a $5 million signing bonus and a $2 million bonus for the year. The big money, however, lies in vested stocks over the next three years. Based on current share value, Mattrick is looking at just north of $30 million.

User Comments: 3

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Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Yeah it's a constant financial struggle for him. I'd hate to be so destitute.

RzmmDX said:

I like how CEOs can mess up so bad, and still get paid so well... and it seems that there are many other qualified "people" to take their place...and most of them make the dumbest decisions... So why are they so highly paid?

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

I like how CEOs can mess up so bad, and still get paid so well... and it seems that there are many other qualified "people" to take their place...and most of them make the dumbest decisions... So why are they so highly paid?

Back in school I watched a video on this exact question and there are a few main reasons they get paid so well.

1) When things go south, they're the first to get the axe. They have the biggest share of the blame when things go poorly and therefore they get extra money to deal with it.

2) There really are rather few people qualified to be CEO and the fact that it's a very specialized skill means they can both move around to different companies and demand lots of money to do it.

3) The CEO's salary is decided upon by the board of directors and the board of directors is usually made up of CEOs from other companies. So when it comes time to vote on a CEO's raise, it's an easy thing to pass because the more one CEO gets the more the rest can ask for (and since they vote for each other, they can help each other out). Just like in the NFL when Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers signed contracts worth over $100 million.... every quarterback was happy to see that happen because it makes everyone's salary go up in the future.

Finally an important thing to note: in the same video they did an analysis of what makes a CEO successful and the largest single piece was 'success of the industry' meaning, it really doesn't matter what the CEO does if they're in an industry that's on the rise.

It's also mostly a good thing that so much of his salary is in stock. He'll be rewarded well if his company does well over the next few years. If they don't, he'll be losing money faster than his salary can replace it. Imagine if he screws up and his stock drops by half and he makes $1million in salary next year but loses $7 million in stock value. Then we'll have a story about how the Zynga CEO 'made' a $1 million and paid nothing in tax.

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