Comings and goings: Zynga, Yahoo, VMware

Some management changes at Silicon Valley tech companies:

Zynga chief creative officer Mike Verdu is reportedly leaving to start his own company — which CEO Mark Pincus said Zynga would back. Verdu, who worked at the San Francisco social-games company for three years, told AllThingsD’s Tricia Duryee his departure “not a function of anything else going on at the company.”

It wasn’t clear what the former Electronic Arts executive, who is starting a mobile-games company, was referring to, but take your pick. Zynga shares are down more than 65 percent since the company’s December IPO and are languishing near their all-time low; its executives have been hit with an  insider-trading lawsuit; COO John Schappert left earlier this month after a little more than a year on the job; and other executives are heading for the exits, Bloomberg reported last week.

Zynga shares were down more than 2.75 percent to $2.99 as of this post.

Yahoo earlier this week announced it has lured the CEO of a startup to Sunnyvale, to be the company’s chief marketing officer. Kathy Savitt, a former employee, is leaving Seattle online commerce company Lockerz to work for new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Savitt’s experience also includes a stint with retailer American Eagle Outfitters, where, according to GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, she “became intrigued with Generation Z” and may bring the same focus on youth to Yahoo.

Yahoo shares were up slightly as of this post amid a so-far negative day for tech stocks.

• VMware’s incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger had his head in the cloud Tuesday at VMworld in San Francisco. “If we look in the data center of today we see a museum of the past,” Gelsinger said, according to Bloomberg. The Bloomberg article said the Palo Alto virtualization company’s new plans, including its recently announced purchase of Nicira, will put increased competitive pressure on Cisco Systems. The Merc’s Jeremy Owens wrote last month about the VMware challenge to Cisco.

Former EMC (and Intel) executive Gelsinger is replacing Paul Maritz, who is returning to VMware parent company EMC as chief strategist, starting Sept. 1. The management shuffle was announced a couple of weeks ago.

VMware shares were off nearly 1.5 percent to about $89.55 as of this post.


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