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Zynga COO quits: Game over for John Schappert

Bigwig legs it as Mafia Wars biz dwindles

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Zynga chief operating officer John Schappert has left the company as it struggles to recover from its poor financial performance and plummeting stock.

The online gaming biz said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that Schappert was off, but the firm was keen to point out that his exit had nothing to do with any disagreement over its operations, policies or practices.

"Mr Schappert leaves as a friend of the company and it wishes him all the best," the filing declared.

The resignation isn't exactly a surprise: he was stripped of some of his responsibilities last week in a shake up to address the FarmVille-maker's underperformance. Bloomberg reported, and Zynga later confirmed, that Schappert was no longer overseeing game development and the heads of mobile and games were now reporting directly to chief exec and founder Mark Pincus.

Schappert was also named in a lawsuit launched by Electronic Arts, his former firm. EA claims that Zynga's The Ville copied The Sims Social, and it was helped by confidential information about the development of the game by hiring Schappert and two other ex-EA execs.

Last month, Zynga shares slipped nearly 40 per cent the day after it reported continuing bad results, including net losses of $23m. Stocks dropped again after the announcement of Schappert's departure, losing 2 per cent. ®

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