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Zynga adds ex-Yahoo exec Ellen Siminoff to board of directors

The founding executive at Web pioneer Yahoo is the first woman to sit on the social-game publisher's board.

Former Yahoo executive Ellen Siminoff has been appointed to Zynga's board of directors, the first woman to sit on the social-game publisher's board.

Siminoff, who is the CEO of educational publishing company Shmoop University, will also join Zynga's audit committee, the San Francisco-based publisher said today.

"Ellen has great experience and insights operating Web businesses at scale and brings a passion for consumer Internet products," Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said in a statement. "Ellen has also been a longtime Words With Friends player with her family and shares our mission to connect the world through games."

A founding executive at Yahoo, Siminoff held a variety of roles at the Web pioneer, including overseeing its entertainment and small-business division. Prior to Shmoop University, she also served as the CEO of Efficient Frontier, an advertising-technology company that was acquired by Adobe Systems in January.

"Zynga is truly about deep connections between people, and the company has built a significant, engaged player community around the benefits of play and social," Siminoff said in a statement. "I admire this vision and I look forward to working with Mark and my fellow directors to leverage Zynga's tremendous success and extend its consumer facing platform for play even further."

The move comes less than a month after social network brethren Facebook appointed the first woman to sit on its board of directors. Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at the social-networking giant, was named to the board on June 2 after a wave of criticism regarding a lack of diversity on the company's board.

Siminoff, who also sits on the boards of directors for Journal Communications, Mozilla, Solarwinds, and U.S. Auto Parts Network, will join a Zynga board that consists of Jeffrey Katzenberg, Reid Hoffman, Sunil Paul, William "Bing" Gordon, Stanley J. Meresman, Owen Van Natta, John Schappert, and Pincus.