Facebook Goes Fishing at Google for Online Ad Guru

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fish1.jpgADOTAS — Sheryl Sandberg, prepare to be poked.

Facebook announced that Sandberg will join the social networking site as COO starting March 24. Mark Zuckerberg has not conceded the throne: he will remain CEO of Facebook, the company said.

Sandberg was poached from Google, where she served as VP for global online sales and operations. She had a fabulous reputation as a relentless go-getter, developing the hugely lucrative online ad programs, AdWords and AdSense. She also managed global operations for Google’s consumer products – and helped launch Google.org, the company’s philanthropic arm.

Zuckerberg plans to put Sandberg’s smarts to work while continuing his mission to connect every member of planet Earth. The company is looking to tap revenue from its 66-million plus user base and Sandberg will be set with the task of figuring out how to capitalize on the Brobdingnagian base — expand overseas, develop an ad network and guide the company’s marketing and human resources departments — without alienating it.

“Sheryl is a great manager who will help scale Facebook’s operations globally,” said Zuckerberg. “She has relevant experience and a track record of scaling business operations and building new kinds of advertising networks. Sheryl understands Facebook’s goal of connecting everyone in the world and is passionate about building a business that will enable us to realize this mission.”

Facebook’s unbridled passion for connectivity hasn’t always pleased its users: when it launched Beacon, a program that allowed advertisers to exploit data from Facebook’s internal user information to produce targeted ads. The program was swiftly derided as a privacy nightmare and users were allowed to “opt out” of Beacon.

David Fisher, currently VP of online sales and operations, will reportedly take over Sandberg’s job.

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