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Zynga names former Best Buy executive chief financial officer

The corporate logo of Zynga Inc, the social network game development company, is shown at its headquarters in San Francisco, California Apri
The corporate logo of Zynga Inc, the social network game development company, is shown at its headquarters in San Francisco, California Apri

By Malathi Nayak

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Zynga Inc appointed former Best Buy executive David Lee its chief financial officer as Zynga continued reshuffling its ranks to try to return the "Farmville" creator to growth.

Lee, 42, will step into the role on April 14 and replace current Chief Financial Officer Mark Vranesh, who has decided to leave the company, the games publisher said in a regulator filing late last week.

Zynga has sought to revive its business by overhauling top management, trimming staff and introducing titles that can be played on smartphones and tablets.

Lee was previously the senior vice president of corporate finance, treasury, mergers and acquisitions and corporate strategy at retail giant Best Buy. He has also worked at Del Monte Foods.

Vranesh, who joined Zynga in 2008, has held roles of chief financial officer and chief accounting officer. He will work with Lee over the next month before leaving the company.

Lee will receive a base salary of $500,000 per year, the company said in a filing. Moreover, he is eligible to receive a performance bonus of 80 percent of his annual salary on reaching certain targets.

Two of nine directors on its board, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, will not run for re-election at the company's 2014 annual stockholders meeting, according to the filing. The board is currently seeking out candidates to fill those positions, the company said.

To regain its financial footing, Zynga has set in motion a turnaround plan, which includes expanded cost savings, led by Chief Executive Officer Don Mattrick.

Shares in Zynga have risen 42 percent since July 1 when the company announced that Mattrick, the former head of Microsoft Corp's Xbox business, would replace co-founder Mark Pincus as its chief executive.

Since taking on the top post, Mattrick has cleared out the existing senior management, including former Chief Operating Officer David Ko.

Lee, who will also hold the title of chief accounting officer, is the second major hire made by Mattrick. In October, he hired Clive Downie, an executive from Tokyo-based mobile gaming company DeNA Co Ltd, as chief operating officer overseeing mobile game distribution and other business functions.

Zynga is scheduled to report earnings on April 23 and offer investors an update on its turnaround efforts.

(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Jonathan Oatis)

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