In a surprise announcement yesterday Microsoft confirmed that Interactive Entertainment Business President, Don Mattrick, has left the company to become the new CEO of the struggling social game company, Zynga. We have now learned that Mattrick’s position will not be immediately filled but will instead be temporally handed over to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who has directed all management in the Xbox division to report directly to himself.
The Microsoft big boss made the announcement about the change within the Xbox division in an email to the company’s employees, saying in part:
“Zynga announced today that Don Mattrick would be its new CEO, effective July 8. This is a great opportunity for Don, and I wish him success. Don’s directs will report to me and will continue to drive the day-to-day business as a team, particularly focused on shipping Xbox One this holiday…”
“Thank you, Don, for setting us on a path to completely redefine the entertainment industry. The strong leadership team at IEB and their teams are well positioned to deliver the next-generation entertainment console, as well as transformative entertainment experiences, long into the future.”
With the Xbox One due out this November, it is a bit of an odd time to have such a drastic change in leadership at the top of the Xbox division. With that said, the message that Mattrick and his team have built around the next-gen console has done very little to build momentum, so a change in leadership could only help at this point.