Joanna Shields, the former Bebo CEO and AOL president, has joined Facebook as its VP of sales and business development in Europe.
Smart move, Facebook. Nobody can sell like Joanna.
- She left Google in January 2007 to join what was then unapologetic MySpace/Facebook copycat, Bebo.
- Her mission: find a buyer. She’d done it before, selling the last company she ran, statup Veon, to Phillips Electronics in 2001, but now she needed to find someone to buy a site used only by British tween girls.
- During her time there, Joanna re-positioned Bebo as a social content portal, instead of a social network. This made it more attractive to ad agencies and old media companies that could buy Bebo.
- Meanwhile, Bebo’s userbase doubled in size.
- The strategy worked, and Joanna sold the site to Time Warner’s (TWX) online subsidiary AOL for $850 million in cash. Bebo’s founders Michael and Xochi Birch — the people who hired Joanna to do a job — walk away with something close to $595 million from the deal.
- Joanna joined AOL with the acquisition and, a year later, got the hell out.
- In 2010, she joins Facebook about 24 to 36 months before its IPO.
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