Planned CEO Shuffle At LinkedIn Signals More Microsoft Control -- WSJ

Date : 02/06/2020 @ 8:02AM
Source : Dow Jones News
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Planned CEO Shuffle At LinkedIn Signals More Microsoft Control -- WSJ

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By Aaron Tilley and Allison Prang 

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (February 6, 2020).

The chief executive of Microsoft Corp.'s LinkedIn professional networking site, Jeff Weiner, will step down in June as the software giant also restructures other elements of its operation.

Mr. Weiner will become executive chairman of LinkedIn, he said in a post on the professional networking platform on Wednesday. He has been CEO for a little more than 11 years, said Ryan Roslansky, the platform's product leader, who will become CEO on June 1. Mr. Weiner said in his post that Mr. Roslansky was the first person he hired after starting as CEO.

Microsoft, separately, said it would hand hardware boss Panos Panay responsibility for the Windows user interface running on those devices. Microsoft also said Brian MacDonald, a corporate vice president involved in its growing Teams operation was retiring.

LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft in 2016 for $26 billion.

The LinkedIn change suggests the site may be losing some of the freedom the unit has enjoyed since Microsoft bought the company, said Ray Wang, founder of the Silicon Valley-based advisory firm Constellation Research Inc. "It's losing its independence," said Mr. Wang. "Still independent but more hooks back" into Microsoft's core operation.

Microsoft said Mr. Roslansky will report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella just as Mr. Weiner did.

Microsoft won out in a bidding war with Salesforce.com over acquiring LinkedIn. After Microsoft's win, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in a tweet that there could be some anticompetitive issues around bundling Microsoft's products with LinkedIn.

Microsoft has tried to bolster LinkedIn with some of its other products to help improve user engagement that trailed the loyalty that rivals such as Facebook enjoy.

Microsoft last week said sales at LinkedIn grew 24% from the prior year and user sessions were up 25%. Mr. Nadella, on an earnings call, said the marketing solutions operation of LinkedIn, which Mr. Roslansky helped build, was the fastest-growing business in that segment.

LinkedIn has more than 675 million users.

Tomer Cohen, who now runs LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, will succeed Mr. Roslansky as head of product at LinkedIn.

Write to Aaron Tilley at aaron.tilley@wsj.com and Allison Prang at allison.prang@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 06, 2020 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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