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Facebook Prepares to Face the Bankers

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We've known since April that Facebook was searching for a new chief financial officer. Now, it has one: David Ebersman, formerly Genentech's finance chief. Roche acquired the biotech powerhouse in March.

There's no disputing Ebersman's pedigree, though there are good reasons to debate whether Facebook needed further financial expertise. Former CFO Gideon Yu previously served in senior positions at Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) .

Ebersman's resume isn't any better, really -- but he does have tenure. Ebersman was at Genentech for 15 years, and on Wall Street before that. He projects the image of a steady, experienced executive.

Most notably, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pointed out in a statement, Ebersman also helped guide Genentech through its hypergrowth phase: "We quickly recognized that David was the right person for Facebook. He was Genentech's CFO while revenue tripled, and his success in scaling the finance organization of a fast growing company will be important to Facebook."

Translation: He's a trustworthy adult, and he knows how to work with us ambitious kids.

Bankers tend to smile favorably on firms that recruit experienced hands. Take Open Table (Nasdaq: OPEN  ) . This web-based restaurant reservations service -- founded in 1998 -- didn't go public till it recruited a top CEO in Jeff Jordan, who joined the company just two years ago. Jordan's prior experience included senior management positions at eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) , where he worked for seven years, and Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) .

Ebersman could be to Facebook what Jordan was to Open Table: a welcome injection of operational expertise and a nod to the nervous IPO bankers at Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS  ) .

Expect them to nod back. Today's Facebook looks more like a public company than at any other time in its history.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Except for Flag Day, of course.

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  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2009, at 4:06 AM, aicccia wrote:

    They need a income source beyond advertising before they go public.

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