Updated: February 7, 2020 12:44:04 pm
LinkedIn Chief Executive Officer Jeff Weiner, who turned the job-search company into a global social network for professional users before steering it through a sale to Microsoft Corp, will step down. Ryan Roslansky, currently senior vice president of product, will become CEO effective June 1. Weiner, who was LinkedIn’s CEO for 11 years, will become executive chairman, the company said Wednesday in a statement.
LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman hired Weiner, 49, in 2008, and he brought on Roslansky later that year. The two helped take the company from a basic job board where resumes were posted to a community of almost 675 million people that is a resource for employment opportunities and online corporate networking. Microsoft spent $26 billion for LinkedIn in 2016 to increase revenue from internet-based software and reinvigorate a customer and sales management business that had fallen far behind companies such as Salesforce.com Inc.
Weiner, who guided LinkedIn through its initial public offering before the Microsoft acquisition, said the company has become central to helping people “navigate the global economy in the 21st century.” “Despite the scale and impact we’ve achieved thus far, it still feels like in many respects we’re just getting started,” Weiner said in an email to employees posted on LinkedIn.
During Weiner’s tenure, LinkedIn’s revenue increased to more than $7.5 billion in the past 12 months from $78 million annually when he took over, the company said. He said the strength of the business made now a good time for the change. The enterprise social network has been working to boost user engagement, connect the online site to Microsoft’s customer and sales software and build up a training and professional development business.
When Microsoft announced the deal, industry watchers said it was essential for the software giant to convince Weiner, a popular leader who insisted on a commitment to LinkedIn’s culture, to stay longer than the usual two to three years for an acquired CEO. It will now fall to Roslansky to keep LinkedIn’s strategy and culture moving forward. Microsoft’s decision to appoint a new CEO, resisting the temptation to fold LinkedIn into the Redmond, Washington, mothership, indicates a commitment to independence from a parent company that once made short-lived promises toward the separate identity of its acquisitions.
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Roslansky has served in leadership roles in almost every part of LinkedIn’s business. He was instrumental in developing LinkedIn’s influencer program and publishing platform. Most recently he has been the network’s head of product and has overseen an attempt to reshaping the consumer and enterprise applications into one ecosystem. Roslansky will report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Weiner said he began talking to Nadella about the shift last summer. He said he has been increasingly focusing on initiatives outside his role as CEO of LinkedIn, which made a change logical. Tomer Cohen, currently vice president of marketing solutions, will replace Roslansky as head of product.
Separately, Microsoft announced executive shifts in its Windows and Office units, with Surface chief Panos Panay gaining oversight for Windows software and experiences. Brian MacDonald, who led Microsoft’s rival to Slack Technologies Inc, called Teams, is retiring and will be replaced by Jeff Teper, a longtime Office executive who was one of the people who originally hired Nadella at Microsoft. Joe Belfiore, a veteran Windows executive who has been working on Microsoft’s browser software, will be taking a leave. He will return to a role in the Office business.
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