Big changes at fast growing professional social network LinkedIn this afternoon. Founder Reid Hoffman has retaken the CEO role, which he relinquished to former Intuit exec Dan Nye in early 2007. Nye is leaving LinkedIn in January, although the company says he will stay on as an advisor.
Former Yahoo executive Jeff Weiner is joining the company full time as interim President. Weiner is currently an Executive-in-Residence for venture capital firms firms Accel Partners and Greylock Partners, and he will maintain a loose relationship with the firms, he says. Weiner left his position at Yahoo in the early summer.
Last week the company grabbed a Google executive, Deep Nishar, to take over Hoffman’s current role as head of the products group at LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has raised $103 million in venture capital to date and has 11.2 million monthly worldwide visitors according to Comscore (October 2008).
What’s not clear is why all this is happening. LinkedIn says their revenues continue to grow dramatically – up 900% over the last two years (although they won’t say what their actual revenue is). When Hoffman stepped down as CEO in 2007 he said the company needed a different leader to grow it further. Now, he says Nye has done that job and it’s time for him to take back the reins.
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.