Healthcare Technology Featured Article

April 24, 2014

Comings & Goings: Facebook Loses CFO David Ebersman, Plans Return To Healthcare Field

Everyone has a dream job, and for many, it's not always the one that's currently being held. For Facebook CFO David Ebersman, meanwhile, that appears to be the case as Facebook announced Ebersman would be departing the company later this year to return to the field he left to join Facebook in the first place: the healthcare field.

Ebersman served as Facebook's CFO for nearly five years, and Facebook already has a replacement in mind for when Ebersman finally takes the last walk out the door in David Wehner. Wehner serves as Facebook's vice president of business planning and corporate finance, and previously served as the CFO for the online gaming company Zynga. Ebersman's last day is set for June 1, but Ebersman plans to stick around until September to not only help get Wehner correctly installed and running smoothly, but also to complete the deal with Oculus VR, recently cleared by European authorities.

The announcement of Ebersman's departure brought out word from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who noted that “...David set us up to operate efficiently and make the long term investments we need, and built an incredibly strong team including Dave Wehner, our next CFO. I look forward to working with Dave in his new role.” Ebersman himself, meanwhile, contributed to the company's announcement of his departure, saying that “This was a tough decision because Facebook is such a great company and has such a bright future ahead, but I’ve decided to move back into healthcare where I spent my career before Facebook. It’s been a privilege working at Facebook and being part of such a great team. We have an incredibly talented finance organization, and I have complete confidence in Dave Wehner and his ability to lead the team going forward.”

Looking at Wehner's qualifications as announced by the company is somewhat unusual. Wehner holds a B.S in Chemistry from Georgetown and an M.S from Stanford in Applied Physics. While both fields would make sense in medical supply or in a research position, putting such a person in as CFO seems out of the ordinary. But, given that Wehner already served as CFO elsewhere, there's something to be said for that level of cross-disciplinary training in terms of appreciating multiple factors going into major decisions. A major departure like the CFO leaving likely raises some hackles at the investor level—a “what does he know that I don't?” phenomenon—and that probably contributed to some of the language involved in the statement.

With Facebook making some major strides, like its moves to improve its mobile presence and getting into hardware with the Oculus VR purchase, having someone to run the helm as far as the company's finances go will be very important. Will Wehner manage to fill the bill? Only time will tell just how well he does, but he certainly seems to have the company's confidence so far, and that's the kind of thing that should at least quell any investor concerns about the matter.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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