After 11 years, Jeff Weiner is stepping down as CEO of LinkedIn and stepping into the role of executive chairman. Replacing him is the very first hire Weiner made after joining the professional-networking site as interim president at the end of 2008.
Ryan Roslansky, who is currently product chief at Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, will become CEO on June 1 and will report to Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella.
announcing his promotion, Roslansky recalled the phone conversation that led him to leave his role at Glam Media and follow Weiner to LinkedIn. “The courage and conviction in his voice about what LinkedIn could become was unlike anything I had ever heard him say in the six years I had known him,” wrote Roslansky, who had previously worked with Weiner at Yahoo. “I was hooked, and without hesitating knew I had to be part of this journey.” He expressed gratitude to Weiner for showing him how to lead with “consistency, compassion and trust.”
Weiner has long described his job as CEO as a “dream job.” He led LinkedIn through its IPO in 2011, helped grow and diversify the company’s revenue, and shepherded the company through its sale to Microsoft in 2016 for $26 billion in cash.
Founded in 2002, the platform has over 645 million users in more than 200 countries. Its revenue has risen by roughly 25% year over year in the past two quarters, a growth rate roughly in the middle among the major product lines for which Microsoft breaks out results, and slower than the revenue growth LinkedIn reported a year earlier.
Weiner, in his own LinkedIn post about the succession plan, said it’s a good time for a change. “For starters, our business has never been better, our culture has never been stronger, and our future has never been clearer,” he wrote. As executive chairman, Weiner said he will support and grow the leadership team and external relationships on behalf of the company.
He described Roslansky as a “true system thinker” who will help realize LinkedIn’s potential.
There’s also value in hiring a CEO from within, as research shows an insider can manage growth and innovation in ways an outsider generally cannot.
Roslanksy has already played a critical role in developing different parts of LinkedIn’s business, including its Influencer network and publishing platform, as well as reshaping the company’s consumer and business applications.