LinkedIn Welcomes A New CEO

LinkedIn's new CEO got his job with the company through the site.

He (quite literally) landed a job through LinkedIn more than a decade ago; now, he is set to become the company’s new CEO. Ryan Roslansky will take charge of the world’s largest professional networking platform in June, when Jeff Weiner, who led the company since 2009, steps down to become executive chairman. Weiner is widely recognized for steering LinkedIn through its massive, $27 billion sale to Microsoft in 2016. Roslansky, Weiner’s first hire, currently serves as LinkedIn’s global head of product, will continualy prove that this was a smart deal.

He has considerable goodwill to build on. Since the sale was announced, LinkedIn’s membership grew from 433 million to 675 million. The company, employing 16,000 workers, currently generates $7.5 billion in revenue, or about 6% of Microsoft’s total.

Roslansky will report directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “The management changes represent a strengthening of Microsoft’s commitment to the strategy that works well for LinkedIn,” says Ben Gomes-Casseres, professor of business and society at Brandeis International Business School. “Since the acquisition, LinkedIn consolidated its position as the premier network for professionals by continuing to add members and services.”

The rollout of LinkedIn Learning is a hit with professionals and corporations, Gomes-Casseres adds. In 2015, Roslansky championed the acquisition of the educational video company Lynda for $1.5 billion and helped turn it into a professional training powerhouse.

That doesn’t mean LinkedIn won’t be challenged to keep its users engaged, and motivated to log in frequently and update their profiles; or to fend off competitors including Facebook, which heavily invested in its own job-postings service. Product development–Roslansky’s expertise—will be crucial to meeting the company’s growth targets.

LinkedIn watchers are paying attention to the promised integration with Microsoft’s suite of office software. Integration isn’t always the best way to create joint value, Gomes-Casseres says: “Parallel play with corporate siblings is a better way. Satya Nadella seems to know that, and he will let LinkedIn be LinkedIn by letting the new CEO be the new CEO.”