In a move that was expected upon the conclusion of the LinkedIn acquisition, Microsoft announced the appointment of Reid Hoffman, one of the founders of the corporate social network to the board of directors, thus increasing the number of board members to 12.
Reid co-founded LinkedIn in 2002 and before then, he was an executive vice president at PayPal. Reid Hoffman was executive chairman of LinkedIn at the time of the purchase by giant Microsoft.
He is currently one of the partners at venture capitalist firm, Greylock Partners and serves on the board of ‘Blockstream’, ‘Edmodo’ and ‘Convoy’. He also serves on a number of not-for-profit boards such as kiva.org and Wrapp and the chair of the West Coast advisory board for ‘Quest-Bridge‘.
Microsoft secured approval for the $26 billion dollar acquisition of LinkedIn during the later parts of the previous year. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claimed that he was enthusiastic about a common mission for both of the corporations.
To this regard, Microsoft set up a number of goals for the LinkedIn integration plan with the inclusion of some particular areas where the firm would leverage the social network. This includes LinkedIn identity and network within Microsoft Outlook and the Office suite. LinkedIn notifications would also be displayed within the Windows action center.
Meeting with Bill Gates
Now other board members seemed to be happy with the recent addition of Reid to the board, claiming his strategic perspective and leadership were valuable assets. In fact, this was not a new development, considering Microsoft had begun courting Reid Hoffman even before the acquisition was apparent.
Bill Gates held a private meeting with Reid on May 9th last year to discuss their perspectives concerning industry trends and the strategy for LinkedIn. They also considered the potential benefits and rationale to Microsoft of potentially acquiring the company.
Both of the parties allegedly also discussed Hoffman’s potential involvement with the business after a transaction had been done including the possibility of serving on the board of directors. However, the parties did not pursue the conversation and instead looked at their respective visions of what a combined company would look like.
Basically, they had both predicted the sequence of events that would lead up to the acquisition and Bill Gates was trying to introduce the idea of bringing Reid Hoffman on the board of directors early on.
Bringing on fresh perspectives
The biggest motivation behind the appointment was the intention of the board to bring on fresh thinking as well as new perspectives on impacting decision making in the future. As an angel investor, Reid Hoffman was one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific figures with a focus at Greylock Partners concerning consumer and services, consumer Internet, enterprise software and enterprise 2.0.
He introduced Zuckerberg to Peter Thiel and along with him was involved in Facebook’s first financing round. According to John Thompson, Microsoft chairman, Reid’s expertise would be a valuable addition. Satay continued saying he had long admired Reid’s ability to identify disruptive technologies and he had a passion for the way digital platforms created opportunities for a lot of people around the globe.