Zynga's new CEO Don Mattrick, right, with Zynga's founding CEO Mark Pincus who has announced he is stepping down. Photo: AP
Struggling web game maker Zynga gave new CEO Don Mattrick a $US5 million ($5.5 million) signing bonus and stock awards valued at $US40 million ($43.7 million) to lure him away from his previous job overseeing Microsoft's Xbox console for video games.
Mr Mattrick secured his lucrative deal with Zynga just a few weeks after the company laid off more than 500 employees, or nearly one-fifth of its payroll, to save money.
Mr Mattrick's compensation package also includes a $US1 million annual salary and a guaranteed bonus of about $US1 million this year, according to a regulatory filing made late Wednesday. Zynga announced Mr Mattrick would replace company co-founder Mark Pincus as CEO earlier this week, but didn't detail how much its new leader would be paid at that time.
Zynga is counting on Mr Mattrick, 49, to reverse a steady string of losses that has caused the company's stock price to plunge 66 per cent from its initial public offering price of $US10 in late 2011.
The stock closed at $US3.42 Wednesday. That price is nearly 20 per cent higher than where the stock stood before the news broke about Mr Mattrick's defection from Microsoft, a sign that at least some investors think he can revive Zynga.
As Mr Mattrick draws up the turnaround strategy, he will still be working closely with Mr Pincus, who holds a controlling stake in Zynga and will remain the San Francisco company's chairman and chief product officer.
As with many CEOs, Mr Mattrick's pay package could be worth a lot more or less, depending on how his company's stock fares in the next few years.
Zynga, the maker of once-popular games such as Farmville and Words With Friends, gave Mr Mattrick 8.9 million shares of restricted stock initially valued at $US25 million to make up for the some of the compensation he surrendered by leaving Microsoft. Those shares are already worth slightly more on paper, but they won't vest until July 2016, according to Zynga's regulatory filing.
Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Washington, didn't disclose Mr Mattrick's compensation in its most recent breakdown of its top-paid executives.
As an additional enticement, Zynga is giving Mr Mattrick another 1.8 million shares of its restricted stock valued at $US5 million. He also gets 7.36 million stock options valued at $US10 million.
Zynga promised to enrich Mr Mattrick even further next year with another batch of restricted stock valued at $US7 million and a cash bonus ranging from $US2 million to $US4 million.
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