Zynga Can't Stop Bleeding Execs

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Another one bites the dust.

Even after social gamer Zynga (Nasdaq: ZNGA  ) saw a handful of execs jump ship last month, the pain continues. This time we're adding another C-suite executive (the third one so far) to the growing list of disenchanted Zynga employees. Allan Leinwand, chief technology officer of infrastructure, has bid Zynga adieu and has landed in a similar position at ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW  ) , an enterprise IT management software, leading its platform-as-a-service, or PaaS, push.

Leinwand had spent nearly three years at the gaming company, helping formulate how to serve up its games to its large player base of more than 305 million monthly active users. It was also his call to originally shift its infrastructure to Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) Elastic Compute Cloud years ago, when FarmVille in particular began to take off in popularity and its own infrastructure couldn't handle the load.

Just a few short months ago, Leinwand recalled: "We couldn't get power fast enough. We couldn't get servers fast enough. We just couldn't scale our infrastructure to match the needs of FarmVille." He added: "[Amazon] clearly saved us. They clearly were helping us scale throughout 2010 and 2009. They did an amazing job." He was also credited with choosing to wean Zynga off Amazon's Web Services division and create its own beefed-up infrastructure called zCloud, while still tapping Amazon as backup when needed.

Much like how Zynga poached execs from other gaming companies, with several coming from Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: EA  ) , others in the industry are now targeting Zynga, according to SF Gate.

With Zynga's plunging share price, the poaching's a little bit easier. For example, ex-COO John Schappert was lured from EA last year with a hefty compensation package. At the end of 2011, he still held 2.15 million shares that were granted to him, valued at $20.2 million based on the $9.41 per share that Zynga finished the year at. With shares falling to near $3 after its most recent earnings release, that same grant was worth almost $14 million less. Plus, 716,000 of these shares vested this March, so he kept these when he left anyway, lower valuation and all.

Leinwand is not the least of Zynga's losses, and he may not be the last, either.

For more on why Zynga will remain underwater, grab a copy of this new premium report all about the social-game maker, written by yours truly. Sign up today and receive quarterly updates at no additional cost!

Fool contributor Evan Niu holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and Amazon.com and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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