Amid a myriad of legal problems, Zynga Chief Operating Officer (COO) John Schappert has stepped down from the company. The former executive recently had his job responsibilities stripped as part of a corporate restructuring, which made both mobile head David Ko and game development head Steve Chiang report directly to CEO Mark Pincus instead of Schappert.
"We can confirm that John Schappert has left Zynga and its Board of Directors effective immediately," Pincus said in a statement to CNN Money. "John has made significant contributions to the games industry throughout his career and we appreciate all that he has done for Zynga. John leaves as a friend of the company and we wish him all the best." According to an unnamed source, Zynga does not have any plans to replace Schappert.
The restructuring that led to Schappert's departure was an apparent attempt to deal with its plummeting stock price. Bloomberg reports that sources familiar with the matter claim Zynga hoped that removing Schappert would inspire investor confidence, but Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter is skeptical.
"Allowing the only seasoned industry executive on your management team to leave is not going to generate greater confidence among investors," said Pachter. "They certainly have lost a tremendous amount of adult supervision. I think that's a mistake."
The falling stocks have since become just one among many legal troubles. Schappert was one of the executives who sold nearly half of his stock just before the drop, leading to a class-action suit and investigation into alleged insider trading. To make matters worse, EA recently announced an infingement suit against the company. Schappert left EA for Zynga last year, but the suit isn't thought to be related to his departure.