Changing Of The Guard: Jeff Weiner Takes CEO Spot At LinkedIn

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LinkedIn had a management shakeup last December – CEO Dan Nye stepped down. Founding CEO Reid Hoffman stepped in again and former Yahoo exec Jeff Weiner joined the company as President.

The hiring of Weiner as President was clearly an interim move, and we predicted he’d move into the CEO role sometime this year: “The addition of Weiner is also quirky, and may explain the changes. Weiner was likely expecting a CEO role as his next job. He’s now second to Hoffman. Perhaps the company is using the interim period to see how he can handle himself leading the company. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Weiner take the CEO job at LinkedIn sometime in 2009, or else leave the company.” It turns out that is exactly what happened.

LinkedIn continues to roll. They are the fifth most valuable social network according to our recent model. The site attracts over 15 million monthly unique visitors (Comscore worldwide, April 2009), up from less than 7 million a year ago, and has 42 million registered profiles. They’ve been ebitda profitable since last year and say they plan to be cash flow positive this year. In February, Hoffman told me “We can go public any time we want to.”

And Weiner agrees, telling me today that their current plan to to build an independent public company, with three key revenue sources: premium subscriptions, corporate solutions and advertising. To date the company has raised over $100 million. The last round, a year ago, valued the company at just over $1 billion.

Hoffman will stay with the company, becoming the executive chairman. This is a full time exec role, he says, not just a board of directors seat. For his part, Weiner has already managed day to day operations of the company. Hoffman says he has done “an exceptional job leading the company.”

It was just a year ago that we broke the news of Weiner’s departure from a troubled Yahoo. Weiner first joined Yahoo when former CEO Terry Semel took charge in 2000 and was one of the top execs when he departed, running the Network division (which included Yahoo’s home page, mail, search and media properties). Former Yahoo president Sue Decker gave him a nice sendoff when he resigned. Prior to joining LinkedIn Weiner was an EIR at both Accel Partners and Greylock Partners.

Here’s the full press release:

LinkedIn Names Jeff Weiner Chief Executive Officer
Co-founder Reid Hoffman continues as Executive Chairman

Mountain View, CA —June 24, 2009— LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, today announced that Jeff Weiner has been named LinkedIn’s chief executive officer and appointed to the board of directors. Reid Hoffman will remain focused on LinkedIn in his day-to-day role as founder and executive chairman.

Since joining LinkedIn as interim president in January 2009, Weiner has overseen all operations and played a defining role in developing and executing the company’s strategy to address the accelerating demand for LinkedIn’s products and services on a global basis. “Working closely with Reid and the team over the past six months exceeded all of my expectations coming into the company,” said Weiner. “I couldn’t be more excited about our progress to date, and the opportunity ahead of us.”

“LinkedIn was founded to harness the power of the internet to create a tool that would help individuals become more effective and successful professionals,” said Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman, LinkedIn. “Over the past six months, Jeff has done an exceptional job leading the company and I look forward to continuing the work that we have begun together.”

In the past year, LinkedIn has achieved records across virtually all key operating and financial metrics, most recently exceeding 42 million global members. LinkedIn has an established business model with three lines of revenue, including premium subscriptions, corporate solutions and advertising. The company operated profitably in 2008 and is expected to be profitable in 2009. LinkedIn has secured more than $100 million in funding from some of the world’s premiere investors.

Weiner brings more than 14 years of consumer web experience to the position. Prior to joining LinkedIn as interim president, Weiner was executive in residence at Accel Partners and Greylock Partners. He had previously held key leadership roles at Yahoo!, most recently serving as executive vice president of Yahoo!’s Network Division with responsibility for Yahoo!’s consumer web product portfolio, including Yahoo!’s Front Page, Mail, Search and Media products. In addition to LinkedIn, Weiner serves on the boards of DonorsChoose.org and Malaria No More. For more information, please see Jeff Weiner’s LinkedIn profile at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffweiner08.

About LinkedIn
LinkedIn takes your personal business network online, giving you access to people, jobs and opportunities like never before. Built upon trusted connections and relationships, LinkedIn has established the world’s largest and most powerful professional network. Currently, over 42 million professionals are on LinkedIn, representing all five hundred of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as a wide range of household names in technology, financial services, media, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, fashion, and numerous other industries. LinkedIn is backed by world-class investors including Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, the European Founders Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, Goldman Sachs, The McGraw-Hill Companies, and SAP Ventures.

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