Featured Business Leader: Jeff Weiner

Featured Business Leader: Jeff Weiner

The rise of social media is one that continues rapidly. Even now, reading this, you’re a part of the ever-growing and ever-changing world of social media – but there are several leading business figures who are a part of this growing industry. One such leader is Jeff Weiner – the current CEO of leading social media channel LinkedIn.

Born and raised in the United States, Jeff Weiner completed a Bachelor of Science, specialising in Economics, from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. From university, he moved through several analytic roles before landing a coveted position at Warner Brothers Entertainment. In the late 1990’s, Jeff Weiner became the Vice President of Online at Warner Brothers Entertainment, where he managed Warner Brothers Online and Entertaindom – two sites at the forefront of early online entertainment. He left Warner Brothers in 2001, and landed at web giant Yahoo!, first working on the company’s Corporate Development (including managing mergers and acquisitions) before joining the Yahoo! Network Division – eventually becoming Executive Vice President and leading a team of 3,000 staff.

It was this experience that helped him in his journey to become the CEO of LinkedIn, after his venture capital company, Greylock Partners, joined with other firms to purchase a 5% stake in LinkedIn. Shortly after this purchase, Weiner was named Interim President – a role which he held for 6 months. During that time, he worked with co-founder and then-CEO Reid Hoffman to define and chart the company’s future strategic direction. In June 2009, Reid Hoffman again stepped back, and Jeff Weiner was named as the new Chief Executive Officer for LinkedIn.

Shortly after his appointment to the role of CEO, questions began to circulate about how LinkedIn could build and maintain a presence in a market monopolised by Facebook and Twitter – but Jeff insisted that they were less concerned with the amount of active users, but rather the quality of those active users. His description of his own company, and the definition of his competitors, is a simple one. “Facebook is massive in scale and scope. Twitter is a public communication forum, but if I’m following you, you’re not necessarily following me. LinkedIn is, simply, a professional network.”

This notion of “the professional network” has held LinkedIn in good stead for many years. Jeff Weiner was at the helm when the company went public in 2011, which marked the beginning of a great period of success for the company which continues to this day.

Outside of his role as CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner is a vocal supporter of the philosophy of leadership. He speaks regularly about the vast differences between management and leadership, often relating back to his own experiences as an executive to help him illustrate his point. He also writes essays regularly, about what it means to be a leader and to be a CEO – which is a great source of insight for those with senior executive aspirations.

He continues to be recognised as one of the most highly ranked and respected CEOs across the world, due to his inclusive and driven approach to business – Glassdoor’s 2014 CEO Approval Rankings (http://www.glassdoor.com/50-Highest-Rated-CEOs-LST_KQ0,21.htm) have listed Jeff Weiner as the only CEO with a 100% approval rating – an amazing feat. As well as being a leading business figure, he also devotes his time to assisting charities that are providing education and healthcare to at-risk families across the world.

What do you think of Jeff Weiner’s story? Are you impressed with his rsum so far? How do you think he’s managed to receive and maintain such a high approval rating from the employees in his company around the world? Let us know in the comments.

This article was written by Simone Ball on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources have been used to prepare this article: WikipediaLinkedIn, Forbes, Business Insider and BrainyQuote.

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