The industry reaction to the way Facebook handled CFO Gideon Yu’s departure is surprise and anger.
The anger stems from the way the company announced his departure, saying it needs a CFO with public company experience.
Sources find this line ludicrous, given Gideon’s talents and track record at Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo.
“Looks like a smear job to me,” said one prominent Valley investor.
“[Gideon] is a rockstar,” said one former Yahoo colleague. “I can’t believe they threw him under the bus like that.”
Those who weren’t angry were just surprised. The most common word Gideon’s former Yahoo colleagues and friends in the Valley used to describe their reaction to his firing was “shocked.” One very well known CEO at a company that works closely with Facebook told us the news was “totally a surprise to me.”
That a Valley startup would fire a by-all-accounts very talented CFO — indeed, the guy who put together the deal that sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion and got Microsoft to buy a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million — is shocking. That Facebook would fire a talented top exec is less so. This is for two reasons.
Gideon didn’t get along with Facebook’s top management. One source close to Facebook tells us Gideon was “not a fan” of Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg. Kara Swisher says that Gideon also had an “increasingly strained relationship” with CEO Mark Zuckerberg “over a series of strategic disagreements over a wide range of issues from increasing ad revenue to fundraising discussions with investors.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is quick to push those he disagrees with out of the company. We asked a former Facebook employee why such a hot startup sees so much turnover. This former employee (who asked to remain anonymous so as to not burn bridges) told us:
Is there a common thread to the other people leaving? I don’t know. I know some specific cases of why things went down. One shared sentiment though is that Mark is a very demanding person to work for, if you screw up, one day you are in, the next day out, persona non grata. Some folks chalk that up to immaturity on Mark’s part, but he has a consistent vision from the day that I met him for how he thinks things should be and acts accordingly. When Doug Hirsch an early VP of Product who came from Yahoo was pushing hard for the Yahoo deal (without completely being forthcoming) and Mark balked, Doug packed his bags very shortly after.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.