Ellen Siminoff, President, and CEO of Shmoop University, an educational publishing company, and a founding executive at Yahoo, joined Zynga’s board of directors today. Siminoff joins DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, LinkedIn Founder and Chairman Reid Hoffman, Sidecar Rideshare CEO Sunil Paul, Kleiner Perkins Partner Bing Gordon, LinkedIn board member Stanley J. Meresman, Zynga EVP of Business Owen Van Natta, Zynga COO John Schappert and Zynga CEO and founder Mark Pincus on the gaming giant’s board.
Siminoff’s background and comments about extending Zynga’s platform could signal a push towards the intersection of online education and gaming. But the board does have a very diverse set of backgrounds, and we’ve speculated about board members changing Zynga’s direction before, so take it with a grain of salt.
“Zynga is truly about deep connections between people and the company has built a significant, engaged player community around the benefits of play and social,” Siminoff said in a press release. “I admire this vision and I look forward to working with Mark and my fellow directors to leverage Zynga’s tremendous success and extend its consumer facing platform for play even further.”
The popular game maker, whose titles include FarmVille and Words With Friends, faces increasing competition and sliding stock performance. However, their significant cash reserves are a significant advantage over competitors.