Zynga has already hired quite a few senior leaders out of rival Electronic Arts, and today the evisceration continues with one of its biggest pick-ups yet: EA Interactive executive vice president Barry Cottle. Among a long list of other accomplishments, Cottle has been behind the acquisitions of social game developer Playfish, casual gaming leader PopCap, and mobile developer Chillingo — deals that allowed EA to quickly gain top spots in these new markets, in direct competition with Zynga.
As Zynga’s new EVP of business and corporate development, Cottle will be reporting to chief operating officer John Schappert (who also previously held the same position at EA). Cottle’s duties will include: growing Zynga’s new businesses, developing more partnerships, and one assumes, buying more companies. Zynga has no doubt been eyeing Cottle for a long time, as they’ve lost some of the acquisitions to him that I previously mentioned.
Here’s a feel-good statement from Zynga chief executive Mark Pincus on the hire: “It’s rare that you find someone who possesses a deep operational background and also has the vision to see where your business and your industry are headed. Barry is one of those executives, and I’m very excited to have him join the team. His skill set, combined with his deep understanding of the games, technology and entertainment spaces will help us accelerate our mission of connecting the world through games. On a personal level, Barry is a great person who brings humility and curiosity, and I’m confident he will fit in well with Zynga’s culture.”
Some more detail on what Pincus is saying: Cottle has been in charge of the 2500-person Interactive division of EA, which includes social, mobile and casual games… he has the perfect experience for Zynga, which at nearly 3,000 social-and-mobile-focused employees, is of roughly the same size and scope as his old job.
The company, which went public last month, is currently trading at $8.45 a share, down from its initial price of $10.