Kara Swisher

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Facebook Selects New CFO: Former Genentech Exec Ebersman

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Facebook picked a new CFO quietly, after its cloddish public parting with longtime top financial exec Gideon Yu earlier this year.

Facebook said in late March it was looking for a CFO with “public company experience,” and it seems to have gotten one in former Genentech CFO David Ebersman.

(He is pictured here–is it just me or does he look a lot like an older version of the man he will be reporting to, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg?)

It’s an interesting choice of a high-profile exec for the job at the headed-for-an-IPO-someday social-networking company, and one from outside the Web sector.

And, indeed, with the addition of Ebersman, Facebook inches ever closer to a public offering.

It is also a good move for Ebersman, who has been at the biotech firm for almost 15 years. But the South San Francisco-based Genentech was acquired in March by Hoffman-La Roche, which already has a CFO.

Ebersman, who will formally start in September, will oversee Facebook’s finance, accounting, investor relations and real estate functions and will also be part of the Palo Alto, Calif., company’s executive management team.

Former Netscape exec and VC Peter Currie has served as a stand-in for Yu since he left, although has not been an active financial exec.

Here is the full press release from Facebook:

PALO ALTO, Calif.–June 29, 2009–Facebook today announced that David Ebersman, the former executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO) of Genentech, the pioneering biotechnology firm recently acquired by Roche, will become the company’s chief financial officer.

Ebersman will report to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder Mark Zuckerberg. He will oversee Facebook’s finance, accounting, investor relations, and real estate functions. He also becomes a part of the company’s executive management team, which directs all aspects of company strategy, planning and operations. Ebersman will formally start in September 2009.

“We received a lot of interest in the CFO position and had the opportunity to meet with many impressive candidates,” said Mark Zuckerberg. “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.”

“After meeting with Mark and the rest of the team, I was thoroughly impressed with everyone’s drive and sense of purpose to help people connect and share,“ noted Ebersman. “Mark is constantly pushing the company forward and he’s assembled a world-class team that is achieving remarkable results both for its users and as a business. I’m excited to join this effort and this new industry.”

Ebersman worked at Genentech for nearly 15 years. He served as the firm’s executive vice president and CFO from 2006 through April 2009, when Roche Group acquired the company. Prior to joining the company’s finance organization, he was senior vice president of Product Operations. He joined Genentech as a business development analyst. Previously, he was a research analyst at Oppenheimer & Company Inc.


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