A Harvard degree seems practically required at Facebook these days; founder Mark Zuckerberg never finished his, but COO Sheryl Sandberg and top flack Elliot Schrage have theirs. Newly hired general counsel Ted Ullyot, the veteran of several legal scandals while serving in the Bush Administration, has one, too. But we noticed something curious: Reports of his hire at Facebook had him graduating Harvard in 1989. Past employers, like Time Warner and Kirkland & Ellis say he graduated in 1990. I called up Harvard's news office and asked which one it was. It's complicated.Ullyot was a "member of the class of 1989," a Harvard employee told me, but he did not get his degree until 1990. He graduated magna cum laude, but the delay seems curious. Especially since Ullyot's dad, James Ullyot, is a prominent Harvard graduate himself, and is now president of the Harvard Alumni Association. Harvard, like all Ivy League colleges, strives to make room for influential graduates' children. Even more curious: Ullyot was two classes behind Sandberg, who graduated — on time, as best we can tell — in 1991. But Sandberg's husband, former Yahoo executive Dave Goldberg, was in the class of '89 with Ullyot. Could that be the connection that landed him the job? If so, just more proof that Harvard connections pay off.
MySpace Music, the joint venture between the social network and three big record-label groups, is struggling to find a CEO, according to The Deal. There's a long list of prospects who have turned the News Corp.-owned social network down: Ian Rogers, the former head of Yahoo Music; Jim Bankoff, formerly of AOL; Eric Garland, the highly quotable head of file-sharing research firm BigChampagne; and former Launch CEO Dave Goldberg, who now works at Benchmark Capital as an entrepreneur-in-residence and is married to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, which makes the L.A. job geographically undesirable. But what's most amusing about MySpace's failed CEO search is the excuse MySpace is now giving for putting off a hire: The team is so close to delivering a product that hiring a boss now would just screw things up. Makes sense — but it raises the question, why hire a CEO at all?
When Dave Goldberg and Bob Roback walked out of Yahoo Music last week, Vince Broady, VP of TV, games, and entertainment, assumed custodianship of the music group while a replacement for Goldberg and Roback was sought. That replacement was not long in coming, and he comes from inside: Ian Rogers, VP of product development for Yahoo Music, will now take over the group. (Is anyone who works at Yahoo not a vice president?) Unless we're misunderstanding, generally unremarked in this shift is that Rogers will henceforth report to Broady, and the music group will go permanently under Broady's wing. Dollars to donuts this shift was already underway before, and may in fact be the otherwise unrevealed reason for Goldberg and Roback's huffy departure.
When Dave Goldberg and Bob Roback abruptly resigned from Yahoo Music, neither they nor Yahoo provided any particular explanation for the move. Yahoo gives only the "personal reasons" chestnut, with Goldberg and Roback declaring airy aspirations for a return to "entrepreneurial roots." The explanatory void leaves the tech media free to speculate, and they're all over the map.
Perhaps Goldberg and Roback left because of opposition to DRM, or due to Yahoo Music's overall troubles, or as part of a general exec exodus from Yahoo, or to join other former Yahoo execs' startups, or because Goldberg and Roback's original Yahoo-bought company, Launch Media, will be spun back out and sold (quickly denied by Yahoo). Interestingly, Goldberg was interviewed by Jason Calacanis for Santa Monica's KCRW on Monday; Goldberg supposedly resigned that evening. He didn't mention any departure plans in the interview, so either he knew and cheerfully kept his own counsel, or he got ambushed by some other development later in the day that prompted his immediate exit. Thoughts?
Per the item we had earlier today, both Paidcontent and CNET got releases from Yahoo confirming that Dave Goldberg and Bob Roback have indeed bailed from Yahoo Music. Hey Yahoo, where's our release? We might have known in advance, but we still like seeing your announcements in our lil' inbox. Anyway, reasons for the departures are cited as "personal" (more on that later, perhaps), with no animus in brief notes from the two execs. Vince Broady, noted up-and-comer and current head of Yahoo entertainment and games, will take over Yahoo Music.