Seattle-headquartered, Big Fish Games, recently announced that it has appointed Jeff Karp as managing director and president. The former Zynga and Electronic Arts (EA) executive will lead the casual games company under Las Vegas-based Aristocrat Technologies Incorporated, which is a subsidiary of Australian gaming machine innovator, Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX:ALL). The subsidiary completed the $990 million acquisition of the social casino business in January.
Karp replaces chief strategy officer and chief digital officer for Aristocrat, Jeff Goldstein, who oversaw Big Fish prior to him joining the company. Goldstein temporarily filled the position after the company’s founder and former Chief Executive Officer, Paul Thelen, left after the firm’s sale to Aristocrat, which was acquired from Churchill Downs Inc. in 2014 for $885 million.
According to the company’s website, Karp has 15-years-plus experience in the video games industry, with more than a decade spent in a variety of positions at game giant EA, where he most notably served as the executive vice president of its Play Label overseeing popular franchises such as EA Sports and The Sims. His time at Zynga was spent as executive vice president and chief marketing and revenue officer, where he worked on games like Draw Something and Words With Friends.
Karp was until January this year the Chief Executive Officer for Sports Illustrated Play, a digital youth sports platform that supported upwards of 17 million monthly users and that Comcast/NBC acquired earlier this year.
In his new role based in Seattle, Karp will oversee the continued growth of the company and manage its wildly successful video games portfolio including Cooking Craze, Big Fish Casino and Gummy Drop.
Commenting on the appointment, Goldstein said that he is “delighted” to welcome Karp to the company and that his “expertise in growing games into global entertainment franchises is unsurpassed. His proven track record and deep experience in the games industry make him the ideal person to drive Big Fish’s growth strategy, and ensure the business delivers its full potential.”
For his part, Karp said, “I am honored to be working with such a creative and talented group, who are focused on enhancing life through exceptional play. Big Fish is a content-rich company and its employees are passionate about making great games that bring joy and fun to millions of players around the world. I look forward to working with everyone at Big Fish to deliver our growth plans for the benefit of our players, our people and all our stakeholders.”