Frank Gibeau is an American businessman who currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Zynga. He has an interesting job as the leader of a video game company. He’s been in the job since March of 2016, but how did he make it to the level of executive leadership in the gaming world? We investigated his history to learn more about how Frank came to be so successful in his chosen field. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Frank Gibeau that shed some light on the secrets of his success and help us to get to know him a little better.
1. Gibeau received a healthy compensation package from Zynga
The first year that Frank Gibeau stepped up to the helm as leader of Zynga, he was given a healthy compensation package. It was confirmed that for 2016, his annual salary was set at $24.5 million. This is a generous yearly income but the job comes with a great deal of stress, hard work, and ultimately, big responsibilities to ensure that the company continues to progress forward in a positive trajectory.
2. Frank is a skilled player
Gibeau doesn’t just lead the team of developers and other staff at the company, he actually knows how to play the games. He’s been an avid gamer for years and when you want to talk about the game whether it’s strategies when playing, knowledge of the challenges and gaming behaviors, or navigating past glitches, he’s solid and he knows what he’s talking about. This gives him credibility with those that he works with and leads. He’s not just a suit at the top…the dude is a gamer.
3. Gibeau knows how to work with developers
Frank Gibeau isn’t your average suit. As a leader, he knows the value of talking to developers to get their input on marketing a product. He doesn’t come across like a typical marketer or executive. He knows the lingo and aspects of gameplay so he can talk to them on a level playing field where both are pitching the same terms around. It’s real communication and he seeks their input about different aspects of the game in question for developing a marketing strategy. Gibeau was called in by the brass when he was at EA for the express purpose of helping the marketing teams learn important facts from developers because he knew how to communicate with them better.
4. Frank Gibeau is educated in a different discipline
After Frank graduated from high school he attended USC. He graduated from the institution in 1991 with his degree in business and international relations. He gained the knowledge of sound business principles that helped him to advance up the corporate ladder into a business leadership position with a major company.
5. He worked as a copier salesman early in his career
Frank got a job with the Xerox Corporation right out of college. With his bachelor’s degree in hand, he started at the bottom and began working his way up. He was a copier salesman at Xerox until he was forced to give up his new job due to an unfortunate accident. A staircase collapsed on Frank and it pinned his leg under a concrete block. It was almost an hour before his rescuers could extricate him from the rubble and the accident left him with a broken leg. He returned to his parents’ home in Los Altos, where he recovered from his injuries.
6. His broken leg helped him gain some useful skills
Gibeau was limited in what he could do with his right leg in a cast, so he spent a lot of time playing video games. He honed his skills as a gamer during that time. Frank got a lucky break after his unlucky break. His dad was an engineer in Silicon Valley and he had gained several patents for technology he created. He pointed out a job he saw for EA games in a local newspaper. It was for a flight simulation game and since he was into planes and had taken flying lessons, he got the job.
7. He went back to school for an advanced degree
Frank Gibeau is a good role model for anyone in the gaming industry who has an interest in pursuing a career in business leadership. After spending some time in the job world doing marketing for several firms and continuing to advance in positions with greater responsibility, he returned to school to work on an advanced degree. He attended Santa Clara University to pursue a Master of Business Administration degree, which is a powerful credential for anyone heading towards executive leadership.
8. He worked his way up at EA
Gibeau started out at EA as a flight simulator tester, but he wasn’t satisfied to remain in the position. After proving his merit as an employee he worked his way up to President of EA Games from May of 2008 through August of 2011. He was then promoted to President, EA Labels in 2011, eventually achieving the office of the Executive Vice President of EA Mobile before leaving the company in 2015.
9. Frank left EA on good terms
After leaving EA, Frank Gibeau was interviewed about his move from EA to Zynga. He explained that his departure was emotional because he had enjoyed working with the teams there and that it was a wonderful experience for him, but he acknowledged that it was time for him to take on a new challenge. He has nothing but good things to say about Electronic Arts, but he did gain some valuable experience in the mobile division that would serve him well at Zynga.
10. Gibeau as brought on board at Zynga to get them on the right track
Frank Gibeau’s reputation as a powerful and skilled leader in the mobile division at gaming is what prompted Zynga to take such an interest in him to lead their company forward. The former CEO Mark Pincus stepped down and he acknowledged that Frank is “super smart and strategic” and that he has a great deal of respect for him as a leader. Frank was hired to improve Zynga’s sagging Mobile gaming market and get them on a forward-moving trajectory.