Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Longtime Facebook Biz Dev Leader Ali Rosenthal to Depart

Alison “Ali” Rosenthal, a veteran of the Facebook business development team, will leave the company at the end of this week, she told NetworkEffect.

Rosenthal had focused on mobile business development in recent years, overseeing Facebook’s relationships with some 300 mobile operators around the world. She is not departing for a specific opportunity, though she said it was likely she’ll end up involved in another start-up.

Rosenthal had joined the company in February 2006, making her one of its earliest remaining employees. She’s the latest of many early Facebookers, including the three Facebook co-founders other than Mark Zuckerberg, to depart over the years.

“I’ve started to feel the pull of some new ideas,” said Rosenthal, adding that she felt Facebook had “unlocked real opportunities at the convergence of mobile and social” that she wants to explore.

By way of explanation for her own and other early-Facebooker departures, Rosenthal contended it’s just that Facebookers tend to be entrepreneurial, and recognize opportunities to extend the social Web in new directions outside of Facebook’s core mission. “It’s very alluring to try a specific idea in an industry you’re passionate about,” she said.

But for now, Rosenthal wants to take some time off. The only specific future plan she would share is to ditch her smartphone for a feature phone for a while in order to “extract myself a little from technology.”

Rosenthal has her MBA from Stanford and previously worked at General Atlantic Partners and Zazzle. She said her replacement has not yet been found, but that Facebook is hiring internationally to have biz dev folks overseeing carrier relationships on a local basis from offices in Europe, Asia and elsewhere.

Other significant recent Facebook departures have included ad sales head Mike Murphy, engineering director Aditya Agarwal and PR head Brandee Barker.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle