Pinterest today said it is hiring a new head of corporate and business development, bringing on former Facebooker Gary Johnson as it looks to continue to expand.
The hiring comes at a time when Pinterest recently saw its president, Tim Kendall, depart to start his own company. As Pinterest looks to ramp up its pitch to advertisers, it needs to bring on people who can deal with potential partners — as well as ones that can scout out new business opportunities that Pinterest can expand (or acquire its way) into. That’s going to be critical as the company positions itself as a company proficient in visual search and to break out of experimental advertising budgets.
Johnson was most recently Facebook’s director of corporate development, and prior to that worked at Credit Suisse and Apple in a number of operating and development roles. With a history as a VP at Credit Suisse, and corporate development at Facebook, Johnson is going to bring in a lot of experience to the company that is looking to grow internationally and continues to sell itself as a potential primary advertising product. That means dealing with a new slate of partners — which may have different needs or demands — abroad and trying to identify spots on Pinterest that make sense for expansion.
Pinterest has been somewhat acquisitive, though there hasn’t been anything particularly splashy (outside of Jelly, which may seem like more of a name than anything). It has acquired a number of teams, like the ones behind Highlight and Shorts, and also last year picked up Instapaper, which continues to live on in the App Store. But its new sweet spot where it wants to expand, visual search, can find some of its origins in the acquisition of VisualGraph back in 2014.
Pinterest is flush with some additional funding, having raised an additional $150 million earlier this year at a $12.3 billion valuation. The company now has more than 200 million users, and as it looks to build more products, like its camera search product Lens, it has to come up with a unique way to tell its story to potential partners that differs from Facebook or Google — which continue to dominate the awareness and intent slots of the online advertisement ecosystem.