SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - LinkedIn has added the former chief executive of Ask.com to its board of directors, the company planned to announce on Thursday, representing the first independent director in the fast-growing social networking company’s boardroom.
Skip Battle, 66, joined the LinkedIn board a few weeks ago, a LinkedIn spokeswoman said, expanding the company’s board to five members. Battle also sits on the boards of several publicly listed Internet companies, including Netflix Inc, Expedia Inc and OpenTable Inc and was CEO of Ask.com, now owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, between 2001 and 2005.
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said in an interview that Battle represented the first of several additional independent board members the company hoped to add, providing the company with valuable experience as it expands its business internationally and develops diverse business lines.
LinkedIn’s other four board members include two investors in the company, founder Reid Hoffman and Weiner.
Weiner said that enlisting more independent directors was not a sign that LinkedIn was moving closer to a potential initial public offering, noting that the company did not need to raise capital and still had all of the roughly $76 million in venture funding that it raised in 2008 in the bank.
LinkedIn, which has more than 65 million members, is among the Web’s new breed of social networking sites like Facebook, News Corp’s MySpace and Twitter. Unlike the consumer-oriented social sites though, LinkedIn is focused on networking among business professionals, and makes money from ad sales, premiums subscriptions and enterprise licensing.
Weiner said that LinkedIn had hired more than 100 employees this year, and that the company planned to grow its staff to 850 employees by the end of the year, compared to the 500 employees it finished 2009 with.
Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Bernard Orr