Match appoints Zynga Chairman Bernard Kim as CEO, replacing Shar Dubey – TechCrunch

Dating app giant Match has a new CEO. Just over two years after assuming the leadership role, Match CEO and 16-year-old employee Shar Dubey is stepping down. The company announced today, alongside its first quarter results, that Shar Dubey will step down as head of Match Group but will remain on the company’s board of directors and continue to serve as an advisor. Bernard Kim, the current president of Zynga, will become CEO as of May 31 and will join Match’s board of directors.

Kim has been president of Zynga since 2016 and has overseen a number of key functions including global marketing, user acquisition, revenue, consumer insights, data science, product management, mergers and acquisitions and communications, Match said when announcing the news. Kim has also been instrumental in expanding the company into new markets including blockchain and hypercasual gaming, as well as new platforms such as Nintendo Switch, Snapchat and smart home devices. He also helped quadruple Zynga’s market cap before its $12.7 billion acquisition by Take-Two in January 2022. Prior to Zynga, Kim spent nearly 10 years at EA, serving as SVP of Mobile Publishing, and previously worked at The Walt Disney Company.

The decision to hire a mobile gaming executive to run a dating apps company is an interesting choice, especially as Match looks to grow its business beyond traditional swipe-based and self-based matchmaking. -called “metaverse”. Match has previously talked about his plans for a dating metaverse, complete with a virtual goods-based economy, real-time audio, and the ability for online daters to meet in virtual space to have conversations. Additionally, Match’s flagship dating app, Tinder, began experimenting with interactive social experiences last fall in a new Tinder Explore section, intended to help push the boundaries of where dating and socializing takes place. in the application overlap. And Match’s biggest-ever acquisition of HyperConnect, which now powers various products on Match, Meetic, Pairs and POF, pushes Match further into online social networking. Given Kim’s track record with Zynga – a company that originally built its empire as a social gaming platform on top of Facebook’s platform – the new executive might be able to offer ideas on how to guide Match as it expands into new interactive and social spaces.

“I am honored to join the talented Match Group team at such a pivotal time, as the company continues to see powerful momentum, strong user engagement and passionate employees who are determined to bring joy to people. millions of users from all walks of life,” Bernard Kim said in a statement. “I have tremendous admiration for Shar Dubey’s leadership and Match Group’s powerful mission to create meaningful connections for every person in the world today and in the future.”

“I feel privileged to be able to step back from a day-to-day exploitative role and have the time and space to focus on what is hopefully the ‘giving back’ chapter of my life,” said Shar Dubey. “As a director and advisor, I will have the flexibility to stay close to the aspects of the business that I love – the product and the strategy. I leave the business in good hands. With the energy, thought Bernard’s new and extensive experience in mobile technology and consumer business, combined with the 70+ years of institutional knowledge and category experience of our brand CEOs and leaders at Match Group, I am very excited about this next phase of the company and the category”.

The company reported first-quarter profit of $799 million, up 20% year-over-year, above Wall St. estimates of $794 million and operating profit in up 10% year over year to $208 million, representing an operating margin of 26%. Tinder’s direct revenue grew 18% year over year, driven by a 17% growth in paid subscribers to 10.7 million. Across all dating app brands, Match’s monthly active users approached 100 million by the end of the quarter. The company, however, warned that Google’s change to force payments through its own system would result in an estimated negative impact of $6 million from June 1. Match shares fell 6% after the earnings release.

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