Jeff Weiner to step down as LinkedIn CEO and become executive chairman

Key Points
  • Weiner has been with LinkedIn since 2008.
  • LinkedIn has contributed to Microsoft's revenue growth since Microsoft bought it for $27 billion in 2016.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner announced his plans to step down from the position on June 1 and become executive chairman. Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn's senior vice president of product, will succeed Weiner as CEO at the Microsoft-owned company.

The move amounts to the biggest leadership change at LinkedIn since Weiner took over the company more than a decade ago. LinkedIn represents almost 6% of Microsoft's total revenue and has been growing faster than several other parts of Microsoft's business.

Weiner joined LinkedIn from Yahoo to be the business social network's president in late 2008. In mid-2009 he became LinkedIn's CEO, replacing co-founder Reid Hoffman, and in 2011 he took LinkedIn public.

Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $27 billion in 2017, the software company's biggest acquisition to date. Microsoft has generally permitted LinkedIn to operate independently, although some integrations of the companies' products have come about since the deal. "All the growth we've been seeing has been in the way we've been operating our own businesses," LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue told CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month.

In addition to running LinkedIn, Weiner has served on Microsoft's senior leadership team since the acquisition closed. In June he characterized his role as a dream job during an interview on CNBC.

"Last summer, I began talking with [Microsoft CEO] Satya [Nadella] about transitioning from my current dream job to my next one and helping him decide on my successor as CEO," Weiner wrote in a LinkedIn post announcing the news on Wednesday.

In the post Weiner used the phrase "next play" five times. The phrase has become common among LinkedIn employees when they congratulate one another for announcing new jobs. Weiner has said he adopted the phrase from Mike Krzyzewski, the coach of Duke University's Blue Devils basketball team.

Before joining Yahoo, where he had responsibility for many of the company's consumer-facing products, including email and search services, Weiner had spent more than five years at Warner Bros. He worked on an entertainment website there and came up with the business plan for Warner Bros. Online, according to Forbes.

Weiner was a protege of Terry Semel, a co-CEO of Warner Bros. alongside Bob Daly, and Weiner followed Semel to Yahoo, AllThingsD reported at the time of Weiner's move.

Like Weiner, Roslansky spent the early 2000s at Yahoo; Weiner said Roslansky was the first hire he made after joining LinkedIn.

"He has been essential to the company's success ever since: helping to build our Marketing Solutions business, developing LinkedIn's Influencer program and publishing platform, overseeing the home page and Feed, running all of our consumer products, championing the acquisition of, and co-developing our prioritization framework for the Microsoft integration," Weiner wrote of Roslansky, who came to LinkedIn from Glam Media.

Tomer Cohen, who has been with LinkedIn for eight years and is currently vice president of products, will become its head of product, Weiner wrote.

— CNBC's Lauren Hirsch contributed to this report.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.