In the midst of a turnaround effort under new CEO Don Mattrick, social games company Zynga has recruited the doyenne of tech R&D, Google’s Regina Dugan, to its board of directors.

Dugan leads the Advanced Technology and Projects group at Google, formerly at Motorola, and she was previously director of the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, where she helped develop high-risk, high-payoff projects around topics like hypersonic flight and hummingbird drones. At Google, she is working on 3-D scanning, modular phones and hand-drawn storytelling — the ATAP group recently stole the show at the Google I/O developer conference.

For Zynga, Dugan will lead the nominating and governance board committee and also serve on the board’s product committee. So maybe next we’ll see FarmVille projected on bug exoskeletons, or Words With Friends in Outer Space. Who knows?

A Zynga representative said Dugan would also help the company with recruiting technical talent. It’s notable that her day job is focused on mobile technology, an area where Zynga has been dinged for moving slowly.

Zynga also announced it had appointed John Doerr as lead independent director of the board, correcting a compliance issue, and that it was selling stock on behalf of Mattrick on the occasion of his first year of vesting. The sale was related to tax payments, said the Zynga representative, who added that Mattrick has no plans to sell his Zynga shares. Until a year ago, Mattrick ran Microsoft’s Xbox division.

Zynga today was trading at $3.02, down from its 52-week high of $5.89 in March.




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