Zynga Chief Creative Officer Leaving to Start New Firm

Mike Verdu, the creative head, is leaving after three years to start a new company in which Zynga will invest

Mike Verdu, Zynga's chief creative officer, is leaving after three-years to start his own firm, a spokeswoman told TheWrap.

Verdu said he "love[s] being an entrepreneur" and plans to start a new gaming company in which Zynga will invest.

"After a lot of soul-searching," he wrote Tuesday in a blog post on the company's site, "I have decided to go back to my roots and start a new company."

Verdu oversaw the company's studios in Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco and managed the production of games such as "Empires & Allies," "FrontierVille" and "CastleVille."

He is the second veteran executive poached from Electronic Arts — Zynga's main competitor — to leave in the last month.

Chief Operating Officer John Schappert resigned after CEO Mark Pincus stripped him of most of his power as the company attempted an overhaul in response to declining  stock prices.

But Verdu's departure appears to be amicable, namely because of the investment and the florid goodbye Pincus issued as a statement.

"Mike has bee a good friend to me personally as well as professionally, and has been an influential creative leader to us all," he said in the statement. "I'm proud of the legacy that Mike has helped build and the deep bench of creative talent and leaders who will carry the torth and shape the next wave of creativity at Zynga."

The company did not comment on an replacement.