Big Fish lands a new boss: Former EA and Zynga exec named president of casual games company

Big Fish lands a new boss: Former EA and Zynga exec named president of casual games company

Former Digital Arts and Zynga government Jeff Karp is becoming a member of Big Fish Games as managing director and president, chargeable for main the Seattle-based casual games company beneath its second company guardian in 4 years.

Big Fish Games founder and former CEO Paul Thelen, who oversaw the sale of the company to Kentucky Derby operator Churchill Downs Inc. for $885 million in 2014, left following Big Fish’s $990 million acquisition by Australia’s Aristocrat Applied sciences, which was completed in January. Jeff Goldstein, Aristocrat’s chief digital officer and chief technique officer, was overseeing Big Fish earlier than Karp was introduced on board.

Aristocrat is saying Karp’s appointment because the new Big Fish chief this morning. He can be based mostly in Seattle in his new function.

Karp has greater than 15 years of expertise within the video games business. He spent greater than 10 years at sport large EA in a selection of positions, most notably as the chief vice president of EA’s Play Label. There, he oversaw recognizable franchises like The Sims and EA Sports activities.

“I’m honored to be working with such a artistic and gifted group, who’re targeted on enhancing life via distinctive play,” Karp mentioned in a information launch saying his appointment. “Big Fish is a content-rich company and its staff are obsessed with making nice games that convey pleasure and enjoyable to tens of millions of gamers around the globe.”

At Zynga, the place he was government vice president and chief advertising and income officer, Karp labored on games like Phrases With Associates and Draw One thing. Karp additionally had a stint at GSN Games as the chief vice president of social and cell games.

Most lately, Karp was the CEO of Sports activities Illustrated Play, which was acquired by Comcast/NBC this yr. The digital youth sports activities platform had 17 million month-to-month customers. Karp left the job in January.

In his new function, the company says Karp will oversee the company’s continued development and handle its portfolio of games, together with Big Fish On line casino, Cooking Craze, and Gummy Drop.

“Jeff’s experience in rising games into international leisure franchises is unsurpassed,” mentioned Aristocrat’s Goldstein in a information launch. “His confirmed monitor document and deep expertise within the games business make him the best particular person to drive Big Fish’s development technique, and make sure the enterprise delivers its full potential.”

The marketplace for casino-based on-line video games was dealt a blow in March, when a federal appeals court docket dominated that the Big Fish Casino constituted illegal online gambling. The ruling, at the moment beneath enchantment, additionally has repercussions for other casino games that use a comparable digital forex system.

Thelen, a former RealNetworks government, based Big Fish Games in Seattle in 2002. Big Fish Games in 2017 posted $466 million in web income and $80.3 million in adjusted earnings earlier than curiosity, depreciation, taxes and amortization, according to financial statements from publicly held Churchill Downs. That was down from $486.2 million in income and $82.2 million in EBIDTA in 2016.

Big Fish has a regional workplace in Oakland, Calif., in addition to its Seattle HQ, which is shifting to a new location in the city. A spokesperson says the company at the moment has 735 staff total, with 630 of them in Seattle.

Observe: Worker numbers have been corrected since publication.

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