Jason Del Rey

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Pinterest Hires San Francisco Chronicle President Joanne Bradford to Lead Advertiser and Media Partnerships (Updated)

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If Pinterest’s recent advertising test with “promoted pins” wasn’t a clear enough sign that it’s ready to generate some revenue, its latest hire surely is.

Sources have told AllThingsD that the social scrapbooking startup has hired digital-media veteran and current San Francisco Chronicle president Joanne Bradford as head of partnerships.

If that title sounds broad, that’s because Pinterest is still very much in the early stages of identifying the best ways for it to work with advertisers and media partners, and start bringing in revenue from its network.

Sources said Bradford will play a lead role in crafting strategies for these partnerships, and will oversee the company sales organization as it builds it out. She’s also expected to have a strong say in the type of products Pinterest develops for advertiser partners, according to people familiar with the hiring.

Bradford will report to Pinterest operations chief Don Faul.

(Update: A Pinterest spokeswoman just confirmed the hire in a statement to AllThingsD. “We’re thrilled to confirm that Joanne Bradford is joining Pinterest as Head of Partnerships, where she will be focused on both commercial and content partnerships globally.”)

Pinterest has been searching for a sales lead, as Kara Swisher reported recently, looking at both Google and Facebook execs.

In Bradford, Pinterest gets an exec with a large Rolodex in advertising and media circles. Prior to the Chronicle, she was chief revenue and marketing officer at Demand Media. She has also held senior revenue and media roles at Yahoo and Microsoft.

While Bradford walks into an attractive opportunity to build a revenue machine on top of Pinterest’s massive audience, her new role comes with enormous expectations, thanks to Pinterest’s recent $3.8 billion valuation. Bradford will also face the challenge of striking a balance between taking advantage of the myriad commercial opportunities Pinterest has in front of it, while not scaring off a loyal user base that has enjoyed an ad-free experience up till now.

Sources said Bradford will remain with the Chronicle until the end of this month, and will join Pinterest in December. Hearst had hired her just this May to breathe some digital life into its flagship newspaper.


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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google