Facebook keeps its network tight. Today it promoted Justin Osofsky to director of platform partnerships and operations, taking the spot of Ethan Beard who is departing after leading the partnerships team along with Dan Rose since 2008. Director of platform marketing Katie Mitic also announced she was leaving today, and mobile platform marketing manager Jonathan Matus stepped down last week.
Along with Sheryl Sandberg’s addition to the board of directors, and long-time Facebook engineers Mike Vernal and Cory Ondrejka taking on former CTO Bret Taylor’s role, the message is clear that while some talent may be draining away post-IPO, Facebook prefers new leaders who’ve been steeped in its open and connected philosophy.
On its earnings call last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that Facebook can’t build all the great social products it’d like to see in the world, so it opened a platform. Companies who build on it can gain traffic and payments while contributing content and experiences that draw people to spend time on Facebook.
But the company’s features, design, and APIs change quickly, and it often secretly gives developers time build products before things are announced. That’s why Facebook requires platform directors who can play both the evangelist and the diplomat.
[Update: Ethan Beard, seen above, was widely respected and instrumental in establishing many of the partnerships that defined the early days of Facebook platform. He left on a high note, explaining "I'm exceptionally proud of the team we've built and the work we've done and I'm incredibly enthusiastic about the future of Facebook and Platform."]
The soft-spoken but enthusiastic Osofsky is a strong fit for the role now. Over the years, I’ve seen him navigate privacy concerns through the launch of Instant Personalization, march Facebook across the web through social plugins, and most recently lead all the media partnerships for Open Graph. The Open Graph social reader apps Osofsky arranged have brought news content into Facebook and made it critical to the media in a way some only thought Twitter could be.
Along with taking on Beard’s platform partnerships role, Osofsky is now also a director of operations including platform operations and developer support. That mean’s he’s responsible for maintaining the stability of the Facebook backbone and the apps built on it.
With Beard and Matus heading out, Mitic taking off for startup-land, and director of product management for Open Graph Carl Sjogreen leaving last week too, Facebook’s platform team looks very different now. Here’s the key players you should know about:
Dan Rose, VP of Partnerships – Rose was a long-time Amazon and Facebook veteran handling major partnerships. He scaled the monetization team for Facebook before beginning to head up partnerships three years ago. Him and Beard worked closely to build their team.
Justin Osofsky, Director of Platform Partnerships and Operations – Similar to Sandberg, Osofsky’s got three degrees from Harvard, and worked in consulting at McKinsey. He helped launch Facebook Connect and payments for games and is now overseeing partnerships for the whole globe.
Vaughan Smith, VP of Mobile Partnerships and Corporate Development – Smith handles acquisitions to make sure top mobile talent comes to work for Facebook.
Amin Zoufonoun, Director of Corporate Development – Zoufonoun signed some of Facebook’s big early acquisitions, and since the social network acquires or acq-hires from about one company per month, he has his hands full.
Chris Daniels, business development – Daniels spearheads Facebook biggest partnerships, and did the same at Microsoft before.
David Fisch, mobile developer relations – Facebook needs apps integrating its social features so it can pull in content that it monetizes with ads, and Fisch makes sure this happens.
While investors may be worried that some Facebook veterans are leaving, they should be pleased that Zuckerberg isn’t scrambling to replace them from outside. Now more than ever Facebook needs employees who understand the ethos of the product it has built. While it may be ramping up its focus on monetization, it has to do so while remaining true its users and social design, or it risks scaring users away.