Hoffman: "I Never Wanted to be LinkedIn's CEO Forever"

By Erin Griffith , written on August 9, 2012

From The News Desk

The prevailing trend in Silicon Valley in recent years has been that founders should remain CEOs of their companies, rather than bring in the professional CEO to run it once it grows to a certain size. In that way, Reid Hoffman isn't your typical founder. "I never wanted to be the CEO the whole time," he said at PandoMonthly in San Francisco tonight.

"Even when I founded the company, my view was, there were a bunch of things I wanted to do other than be the CEO of the company," he said. He had a revelation --"I'm screwing up as a CEO."

In 2009, he brought Jeff Wiener in to run LinkedIn and stepped aside as the Executive Chairman.

A new CEO partially has to refactor the team anyway, so it felt like the right time to hire a new CEO, he said. Meanwhile, Hofman was struggling with creating unity within teams at LinkedIn -- he hired a set of talented people who were merely talented but could not assemble as a team.

"It's always easy to fire lame peopleā€¦ Part of the real challenge is that it's not just people, it's people that work together in a good team." At one point, LinkedIn's team was full of smart people pulling in all different directions, and Hoffman realized the company needed a CEO, head of product and operator to manage the company as it scaled.