Business social networking site LinkedIn has announced its third chief executive in less than a year — founder Reid Hoffman– is stepping down from the CEO role he assumed in December, and President Jeff Weiner is taking his place.
Not surprisingly, the Mountain View, Calif. company’s press release emphasizes the continuity in the decision, quoting Hoffman as saying, “Over the past six months, Jeff has done an exceptional job leading the company and I look forward to continuing the work that we have begun together.” But even if you don’t want to take LinkedIn’s word for it, this isn’t necessarily a sign the company’s in trouble, or that the company’s board is unhappy with Hoffman’s performance. After all, when Weiner became president and Hoffman started his second go-round as CEO, there was already speculation that the move was temporary, and that Weiner (who previously left his executive role at Yahoo to become entrepreneur in residence at venture firms Greylock Partners and Accel Partners) was being prepared to take over.
LinkedIn says it was profitable in 2008 and predicts it will be profitable again this year, with 42 million members around the world. (Job uncertainty due to the economy probably hasn’t hurt.) It has raised more than $100 million in funding from Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, the European Founders Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, Goldman Sachs, The McGraw-Hill Companies, and SAP Ventures.
Meanwhile, the company says Hoffman will remain involved as executive chairman.