Facebook CFO Quits As Profit Continues To Grow

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 24, 2014

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Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman seems to be leaving on a high note, as the company’s first-quarter sales and profit exceeded past estimates. Former Zynga Inc. CFO, David Wehner, who is currently Facebook’s vice president of corporate finance and business planning, succeeding Ebersman this June.

The announcement of Ebersman’s departure coincided with that of Facebook’s first quarter earnings report. Facebook’s revenue rose by 72% to $2.5 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $2.36 billion, according to a Bloomberg data.

In the earnings release, CEO Mark Zuckerberg described Ebersman as “a great partner in building Facebook” and said he “set us up to operate efficiently and make the long term investments we need.”

Re/Code reports that Ebersman will officially step down from the CFO’s job on June 1, but will stay through September to help complete the company’s $2 billion deal to buy Oculus VR.

Read: What The $2Bn Oculus Deal Means For Facebook?

This has been a tough decision because Facebook is such a great company and has such a bright future ahead, but I’ve decided to move back into healthcare where I spent my career before Facebook
-David Ebersman, CFO, Facebook

Since the IPO, though, it has been pretty smooth sailing — though rather busy — for Ebersman, who has helped with a number of big acquisitions, from Instagram for $1 billion to the recent WhatsApp buy for $19 billion. After going public in May of 2012 in what was one of the most disaster-prone offerings, Facebook’s stock is up more than 60 percent, reports the news portal.

Back to the roots

Facebook is known for its stable management team, with only one top executive, former technology chief Bret Taylor, leaving since the IPO. Ebersman too has been at Facebook for almost five years. the company’s COO Sheryl Sandberg has been there since 2008, reports Techcrunch.

Ebersman, who joined Facebook from Genentech is reportedly going back to the health-care industry. “This has been a tough decision because Facebook is such a great company and has such a bright future ahead, but I’ve decided to move back into healthcare where I spent my career before Facebook,” Ebersman said in the release.

Ambitious plans!

Facebook has 1.28 billion monthly active users, or almost half the world’s Internet population, up from 1.23 billion last quarter and its growth is increasingly shifting to mobile, which now accounts for nearly 60% of its advertising revenue, up from almost nothing at the time of the company’s 2012 initial public offering. By testing a mobile ad network and confirmed to buy text messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion, the social media giant is looking to earn more profit with the increased adoption smart mobile devices.

Facebook also agreed to buy Oculus VR, a virtual-reality headset maker to enter the burgeoning wearable-computing market. Moreover, last month it confirmed connectivity via drones, satellites and lasers after purchasing a U.K.-based aerospace company.

A safe bet!

Ebersman’s exit from the company is not clear. However it can be said that as Facebook has so many ambitious plans up its sleeves, on the face of it, some of these are hunky-dory. As an analyst on condition of anonymity points out, “The company’s biggest challenge will be sustaining the growth momentum going forward, as nobody knows the future of these projects.”

So is Ebersman, being a seasoned executive (or perhaps a little ahead of his time) playing a safe bet?

Or may not be that. It may be as the company’s COO Sheryl Sandberg was quoted in a Techcrunch report, “He’s going to do something he really loves (going back to healthcare).”

In that case we may not have any doubt about his next move, but wish Ebersman all the best in his next endeavor!