Accel Partners has responded swiftly. It has promoted two professionals, Ping Li and Kevin Efrusy, to full “general partner” status. Moreover, it has erased the titles of “managing partner” enjoyed by several of its partners, thus leveling out the structure.
Here is Accel’s team page. Ping Li joined Accel in 2004 to focus on networked infrastructures, and worked previously at Juniper Networks. Both Ping and Kevin have MBA’s from Stanford — of course.
Kevin Efrusy came to Accel in 2003, and previously worked as Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Kleiner Perkins. There, he helped start Corio, an online software pioneer acquired by IBM in 2005. He’s also active with Accel’s investment in Facebook.
Whispers following Fenton’s departure last week suggested Fenton had wanted to join a more egalitarian team, where there was less of an established leadership. Benchmark is filled with a bunch of guys pretty much of the same generation (and height, at about 6’4”), and is known for its flat hierarchy . It is a young firm, and so there are no senior founders from an older generation, and similarly does not require younger people to pay dues and work their way to the top. In this way, Benchmark is an exception to the rule on Sand Hill Road — at least among big-name firms. Accel, like others, has had to work on a generational hand-off. This latest move helps put to rest lingering questions about that.
Meanwhile, you will see form this picture below that Fenton fits right in (he is second to the left). Though he might need to grow two inches ;-)
Correction: Last week, we mentioned in a comment to this post that Accel’s Peter Wagner had been promoted to “partner” three years ago. Our bad. We meant to say
“general partner” “managing partner,” as he was already general partner at the time.