Zynga shares are down more than 21 percent over the past six months, but that didn't stop the company's board from approving CEO Don Mattrick's $57,814,391 pay package this year.
The company held its annual shareholders meeting Wednesday at its San Francisco headquarters, and a spokesperson said all motions were approved and board of directors were re-elected. She said there were several questions from shareholders but would not disclose any details.
Zynga's Mattrick is the second-highest paid CEO of all the companies in the Bay Area—after Oracle's Larry Ellison—but Zynga is far from being one of the top performing stocks in the region.
Mattrick was hired away from Microsoft to lead Zynga last July, after the company's founder Mark Pincus relinquished operational control of the social gaming company that built its brand around the FarmVille gaming franchise on Facebook. Despite an extremely volatile ride, the company's stock is essentially where it was when Mattrick took over last July 8.
Still, Mattrick has his outside supporters. UBS analysts in a report issued Tuesday said they "remain constructive over both the medium and longer term." UBS's conclusions were based on a dinner conversation at the E3 gaming conference with Zynga CFO David Lee.
He also has his critics. "We're neutral to negative on Zynga and while the CEO's pay is clearly high, our bigger concern is shareholder dilution," which is at least partially the result of several other hires in the last year, said Adam Krejcik, managing director at Eilers Research.
The stock has been pretty volatile over the last year. Last Friday, Zynga plunged 10 percent, and that followed a 50 percent selloff from its recent highs in March of close to $6 a share. Shares have tumbled nearly 44 percent in the past three months and are down more than 16 percent since the beginning of the year.
Mattrick acknowledged the company's difficulties at a recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch technology conference, saying "we're nowhere near where we should be."
But despite analysts' mixed perspective on Zynga's future growth prospects, few questions appear to have been raised at the shareholder meeting about Mattrick's pay package.
When the board signed off on his pay they knew it was a high risk, and potentially high, or low reward proposition, said F. Daniel Siciliano, professor and associate dean at Stanford Law School's Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance.