There is a major change ahead for LinkedIn, the social network for the working world, now with 675 million members. Jeff Weiner, who has been leading the company as CEO for the past 11 years, is stepping down on June 1, 2020. His new role will be executive chairman. Ryan Roslansky, who is currently head of product, will be stepping up to the role of CEO, while Tomer Cohen, who had been under Roslansky, is stepping up to lead the product team.
The changes are the company’s biggest — and actually, only — big executive shakeup since LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion in 2016. It’s notable that both of the new appointments are of long-time LinkedIn executives — don’t rock the boat too much, don’t fix what isn’t broken, and all that.
As for what Weiner will be doing next, in a blog post announcing his departure, he notes that LinkedIn was his “dream job” and that he’s moving on to the next “dream job” as executive chairman. I’m guessing we will start seeing his name floated around for other CEO roles in 3, 2, 1…
His tenure at LinkedIn followed a period of rapid growth at the company, where it doubled down on diversifying its revenues into advertising alongside subscriptions to its premium and recruitment businesses, a major refresh of the company’s mobile effort, a number of redesigns and experiments across the main platform to best leverage the position that it holds among its user base — based on some of the same social mechanics that underpin the likes of Facebook, but with a much more practical, professional, productivity bent — and, most of all, very torrid growth of its user base. Some love to poke it and lampoon its somewhat surprising ability to infer your connections and send countless attempts to your email to try to engage you more, but ultimately it’s a tool and platform that hasn’t really found a strong single competitor.
At the same time, it will be very interesting to see if the new leadership will be business as usual, or if the company will strike out and try to change things up, and if so, how. At a time when the likes of Facebook are finding a lot of criticism for their own take on social media, you can see an opportunity — and perhaps the right moment — for that change to come.