Frank Gibeau, who has been on Zynga's board since last August and is currently a director of data visualisation company Graphiq, will take up his role as chief executive on 7 March.
Gibeau has 25 years of experience in the gaming industry, including many years working with software giant Electronic Arts.
Zynga's current chief executive and founder Mark Pincus will become executive chairman on the company.
"I'm incredibly honoured to join the Zynga team as chief executive," said Gibeau. "Mark founded Zynga with the simple premise that it's more fun to play games with other people and that social gaming was a path to the mass market. I felt the power of this idea as a competitor and was inspired by how Zynga reached unexpected new audiences and opened up brand-new gaming platforms."
Commenting on Gibeau's appointment, Pincus said: "In our industry he's known for driving operational excellence and leading winning teams on both the publishing and studio side of the gaming business."
Shares in the company surged up 8.3 per cent in after-hours trading to $2.34.