Industry Moves: Facebook Appoints Biotechnology Executive As New CFO

David Ebersman

In its search for a new CFO, Facebook mentioned only one criteria: public-company experience. And on Monday it announced it had hired an executive who matched that profile in a big way. The company named David Ebersman, the former CFO of publicly traded biotech giant Genentech, as CFO. Ebersman held the top finance job at Genentech until April, when the company was sold to Roche in a $46.8 billion deal. At Facebook, he replaces Gideon Yu, who left the company in late March.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Ebersman stood out as a candidate due to his experience in “scaling the finance organization of a fast growing company” Genentech’s revenue tripled during Ebersman’s three years as CFO, reaching $11.7 billion in 2008. Facebook’s revenue pales in comparison: According to one forecast, the social network is expected to bring in about $230 million in advertising revenue this year. Zuckerberg has said that the company’s revenue is on track for a 70 percent jump this year.

Yu’s sudden departure raised questions about Facebook’s financial health, although in May the company received a $200 million investment from Russian investor group Digital Sky Technologies, which Facebook said would provide it with a “cushion.” At the time, Zuckerberg also said that an IPO was not imminent.

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