Chief operating officer resigns on eve of companyâ??s quarterly financial report

Key EA exec John Schappert ‘quits for Zynga’

An executive at the centre of EA’s publishing business has resigned to join Zynga, reports suggest.

Social games giant Zynga has snapped up Electronic Arts chief operating officer John Schappert, according to Reuters.

The newswire claims he quit on Monday and will “take an executive post at Zynga”.

Schappert rejoined EA in 2009, and in his two years helped the publisher fight to plug haemorrhaging revenues.

Prior to this, he had been a major executive at Microsoft for about two years, following an extended spell at EA that began back in 1991.

Zynga’s scoop for the well-recognised executive, if true, offers a snapshot of the rate of change the industry is going through.

Zynga, founded in 2007, is currently valued between $7 and $10 billion. The firm is one of the first to crack the free-to-play model in the west, and has built its empire on the Facebook platform.

EA, once the global kingpin in brick and mortar game publishing, has struggled in recent years.

The firm last year put an end to twelve consecutive quarterly losses, and had ended 2010 with 795 fewer employees than the year prior.

Executive walkouts

Schappert’s departure would represent the fourth exec EA has lost in five weeks.

In April an unnamed EA Tiburon boss quit the company (very likely to be Ian Cummings, the Madden NFL creative director).

EA Easy Studio boss Ben Cousins, meanwhile, departed late in March – one day after Visceral Games boss Scot Amos resigned.

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