Founders never share power willingly, gracefully, or for very long. That's a lesson that Facebook's Owen Van Natta should have learned at the knee of Jeff Bezos, when Van Natta was an executive at Amazon.com. Instead, though, he's been schooled in it by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who just demoted Van Natta from COO to chief revenue officer and VP of operations, Kara Swisher reports on AllThingsD. Zuckerberg's former No. 2, once trusted to attend the Sun Valley media-mogul conference in his stead, now shares key duties with a host of other executives. Here's a rundown on Van Natta's new rivals.
Chamath Palihapitiya, the former AOL executive, now heads up marketing; having criticized Silicon Valley's white-male old boys' club, Palihapitiya must surely be pleased with Van Natta's comeuppance. Matt Cohler, the early LinkedIn employee
cofounderwho jumped to Facebook some time ago, is now in charge of "business operations" and strategy. Gideon Yu, the recently hired CFO, is now free to fib about Facebook's finances, as he did as YouTube's CFO after that company was acquired by Google. And close Zuckerberg associates Dustin Moskovitz and Adam D'Angelo now have tighter reins on the company's products and technology.
But Zuckerberg could be setting himself up for a fall. By elevating Van Natta's rivals, he's going to find himself spending time on personality conflicts, infighting, and turf warfare instead of tending to the needs of his beloved users. Palihapitiya, Cohler, and Van Natta, for example, are, by their titles, charged with Facebook's "operations." The more Zuckerberg's executives spar over fields of authority, the less attention they'll pay to business. Zuckerberg has asserted his power — at the cost, potentially, of his abiity to get things done.