Zynga Poaches DeNA’s Clive Downie As New COO

The management shuffle at Zynga continues as new CEO Don Mattrick fills the executive ranks with longtime colleagues and friends from the industry.

He’s poached Clive Downie from Japan’s DeNA to be the company’s new COO. Downie has been in the gaming industry for more than 20 years, with 15 years of experience at Electronic Arts overseeing franchises like FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed, Medal of Honor and Command & Conquer.

After Electronic Arts, Downie joined Neil Young at ngmoco (which was short-hand for next-generation mobile company). Ngmoco was an early iOS developer that Japanese mobile gaming giant DeNA ultimately acquired for up to roughly $400 million in cash and stock.

DeNA bought the startup as part of an effort to duplicate the company’s success in the West through creating a dual game distribution platform and first-party game developer. (Ironically, Zynga was also an interested bidder in the deal several years ago.)

While at DeNA, Downie oversaw the development of the Mobage gaming platform and managed a number of first-party gaming studios in San Francisco, Vancouver and Chile.

Downie, who will report directly to Mattrick, takes the role after David Ko left the position two months ago. He has a tough job ahead, as Zynga is in the process of resetting its entire product pipeline.

He had mysteriously resigned from DeNA earlier this week, and DeNA West’s chief financial officer Shintaro Asako took over his role.