Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus on Monday said he is handing over the helm of the struggling social games company to Microsoft entertainment division chief Don Mattrick.
Word that videogame industry veteran Mattrick would be in command of San Francisco-based Zynga beginning next week caused shares to jump more than 10 percent to $3.17.
"I've always said (to the Zynga board) that if I could find someone who could do a better job as our CEO I'd do all I could to recruit and bring that person in," Pincus said in a letter to employees.
"I'm confident that Don is that leader."
Last month, Zynga announced that it was cutting nearly a fifth of its staff as it refocuses on games for mobile devices.
Zynga has been pulling the plug on unpopular games and investing in titles for play on smartphones or tablets, as well as its own online arena at zynga.com.
Zynga rose to stardom by tailoring games for play by friends on Facebook. But the two firms have grown apart in the past year as Facebook develops new revenue streams and Zynga seeks new consumers.
Meanwhile, Mattrick was recently at the center of backlash against Microsoft over plans for new-generation Xbox One consoles to require Internet connections and put restrictions on playing second-hand game disks.
About two weeks ago, Mattrick announced in a blog post that the US technology titan was reversing its position in the face of outrage by gamers.
"The ability to lend, share and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you," Mattrick said in a message to gamers.
"Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world."
He promised Xbox One will now let people "play, share, lend and resell" game disks the same way they can on current-generation Xbox 360 consoles.
Xbox One consoles will only need to connect to the Internet once, to set up systems, and users will then be free to play games offline.
Sony's new-generation PlayStation 4 console scored an opening skirmish triumph over Microsoft's Xbox One at the premier E3 videogame industry gathering in Los Angeles in June.
Sony and Microsoft each hosted distinct private events to spotlight their new champions in long-running console wars.
Both titans showcased blockbuster games, but Sony triggered unbridled cheers with assurances it would not interfere with sales of used titles or require Internet connections for play.
The points were in sharp contrast to Microsoft, which said at E3 that Xbox One consoles would need to check in online once every 24 hours for games to work, and set conditions on used games.
Sony also priced PS4 at $399, compared to the $499 Microsoft said it will charge for Xbox One consoles when they are released in the US and Europe in November.
Sony built on its E3 momentum with ads stressing the ease with which used games could be played on PS4 consoles.