Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) said Tuesday Chief Creative Officer Mike Verdu has decided to quit the social gaming firm to start his own unnamed mobile game studio.
“Being at Zynga in the early days reminded me of how much I love being an entrepreneur,” Verdu wrote in a company blog. “After a lot of soul-searching, I have decided to go back to my roots and start a new company.”
Verdu, who during his three-plus years at the company oversaw a number of Zynga’s game studios in L.A., Dallas, Baltimore, New York, Boston and San Francisco, is the fifth manager leaving the firm this month, adding to an increasing list of top executives who have exited the compnay amid a stock-price decline and revenue-growth slowdown.
Shares of Zynga have declined nearly 70% since the company’s $10 a share December IPO, depressing the value of equity used to compensate staff.
The shares closed Tuesday at $3.08, valuing the company at a mere $2.34 billion.
Verdu told AllthingsD that while his exit is bad timing, he’s leaving for different reasons.
“I personally don’t want to add to the noise level,” he said. “I think this will be a good thing for me and for Zynga….I’m concerned about how this might be viewed with what else is going on, but it’s not a function of anything else going on at the company.”
Verdu’s departure closely follows a handful of other resignations, including Ya-Bing Chu, a vice president, Jeremy Strauser, a general manager, and the company’s Chief Operating Officer John Schappert.
Zynga said it plans to invest in Verdu’s venture and will publish his games on its third-party platform.