Posted by: Rob Hof on June 24, 2009
Six months after joining LinkedIn as interim president in a management shakeup, former Yahoo executive Jeff Weiner has just been appointed chief executive of the business networking firm. His appointment leaves founder, chairman and CEO Reid Hoffman as executive chairman, a role in which he expects to remain actively focused on the company. Weiner essentially will be doing the same day-to-day operations he was doing as president. “It’s business as usual,” he told me.
So, the $64 million question: Does this mean LinkedIn, long considered a leading candidate among countless Web startups to go public sooner than later, finally has the management team in place to do so? Hoffman will say only, as he has before, that “the most natural outcome is an IPO.” He’s not saying when it might happen. But with a new CEO and a chief financial officer in place for a couple of years now, it doesn’t seem like a stretch before too awfully long.
After all, the restaurant reservations service OpenTable recently went public despite a net loss, and its stock rose 59% over its $20 asking price the first day. LinkedIn, which has raised $100 million in venture capital, says it was profitable last year and expects to be this year, at least before taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Like OpenTable, it doesn’t depend solely on advertising like so many Web firms, and may even be a recession play. Advertising is just one of three revenue streams, which also include subscriptions and corporate services. The company claims 42 million active members worldwide.
After a long run at Yahoo during a tumultuous time capped by Microsoft’s unsolicited (and failed) bid to buy the Internet icon, Weiner joined Accel Partners and Greylock Partners as executive in residence last year. That position is a common stepping-stone to a CEO spot.