Facebook Sure Does Have Trouble Keeping Execs

Facebook will soon have its third chief financial officer in less than two years, the company announced today via a leak to the Wall Street Journal. Gideon Yu, the man who came back from Dubai empty handed, is out. The hunt for his successor is starting now.

Facebook says this is about getting a CFO with public company experience (“We have retained Spencer Stuart to lead our search for a new CFO and will be looking for someone with public company experience.”). Which is complete nonsense (and poorly thought out nonsense at that), because Yu, after a short stint at YouTube and an even shorter stint at Sequoia Capital, was the treasurer and SVP Finance at Yahoo. Which is very much a public company.

So why is he leaving? We have to speculate for now, but perhaps he’s not convinced the company can get another round of financing at the valuation the board wants to see. Or it could be any of a thousand other things. But it most certainly isn’t because he doesn’t have public company experience.

Less than two years ago Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said of Yu “I consider it kind of a coup that we were able to recruit him here…He’s just excellent.”

I wonder why he didn’t add “I just hope for his sake that Facebook isn’t too successful, because if we IPO at some point, he’s out.”

Yu is just the most recent Facebook exec to leave the company. Here’s a list of at more than ten that have left since 2007 (not included on the list is Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, who is expected to leave this year to run for Attorney General in California):

Gideon Yu, VP and CFO – left 3/31/09
Net Jacobsson, director of business development –left, March ‘09
Owen Van Natta, chief revenue officer – left in Feb ‘08
Adam D’Angelo, co-founder and CTO left in May ‘08
Matt Cohler, VP of product development and #5 employee – left in June ‘08
Katie Geminder, Director of Product, left sometime after Jun ‘07
Jeff Hammerbacher – left in July ‘08
Ben Ling, head of developer platform – left in Aug ‘08
Dustin Moskovitz, Facebook cofounder– left in Oct ‘08
Rudy Gadre, VP and General Counsel, January 2006 – April 2008
Mike Sheridan, CFO, left in June 2007