Pinterest today is adding another executive to its upper c-suite with the hire of Francoise Brougher, who was most recently business lead at Square and prior to that VP of SMB global sales and operations at Google, as its first chief operating officer.
Both of those previous positions are probably going to be of particular interest to Pinterest, as someone with Brougher’s experience dealing with smaller- and medium-sized businesses can help Pinterest pitch itself as an advertising product for those small businesses looking to get off the ground that’s a good alternative to Facebook. It also means that Pinterest has now nearly fully fleshed out its C-suite, having hired Todd Morgenfeld in October 2016 as its first CFO. Pinterest is still hiring at high-level positions, like a new head of computer vision, but this is a big one to demonstrate that it’s a company looking more and more ready to go public.
Brougher joined Square in 2013 after working at Google for more than 8 years, and as VP of Business Strategy at Charles Schwab prior to that. A Recode story in 2014 called her Square CEO Jack Dorsey’s “secret weapon,” known for rigorous data analysis and basically getting the job done. Brougher’s wealth of experience in running businesses — including those geared toward helping small businesses get off the ground — is clearly a slot that Pinterest needed.
Pinterest says it has more than 200 million monthly active users — which, in the scope of Facebook or Google, is tiny. But its pitch to advertisers is it can catch users in different phases in their purchasing lifecycle, from whether they are just clicking around to find things to actually saving them and buying them later. Huge brands can use this as an opportunity to catch potential customers at multiple different touch points, but for small businesses especially, that discovery process and grabbing that mental real estate early on is critical.
Pinterest says there are more than 1 million businesses on the platform, and while big brands may want to spin up big campaigns on Pinterest, the rest of that tail of advertisers is just as important to flesh out its business. Brougher clearly has experience running a huge operation — Pinterest now has more than 1,200 employees — as well as building out the partnerships and businesses necessary to keep a company humming. That’ll be even more important as Pinterest looks to set itself up to potential investors as a public company, where it will need people like Brougher showing that it knows what it’s doing.