Mike Murphy’s Facebook Tenure Defined by Ad Sales Growth

mikemurphy-bDeparting Facebook VP of Global Sales Mike Murphy presided over the company’s transformation from an intriguing social advertising platform to a “must buy” for brand campaigns.

Murphy joined the then one-year-old Palo Alto, CA-based firm in 2005. Since then, Facebook has unveiled a self-service advertising platform, introduced official “Fan”/”Like” pages (which have almost become the primary websites for some brands), and facilitated the distribution of its social plug-ins throughout the Internet via its open graph platform.

While Murphy perhaps had little to do with the decision to implement those features, it was his job to spread a new kind of social marketing gospel to get them off the ground. He had to sell Facebook’s emerging platforms to sometimes leery CMOs. As Context Optional CEO Kevin Barenblat points out, it’s been hard to argue with the results.

“Mike has definitely made his mark on Facebook, and was instrumental in demonstrating the value of social to brands,” Barenblat said. “He grew sales from near nothing to over $1 [billion] annually during his tenure. That’s a huge accomplishment.”

While Facebook announced yesterday that Murphy would stay on until the end of the year, it didn’t name a successor. The VP of global sales is reportedly leaving the company to spend more time with his family. No matter what Murphy’s intentions are, with an executive sales resume that includes Facebook, Yahoo, Ziff-Davis Publishing, and CMP Media, industry watchers can probably expect to see his name pop up as a speculative candidate for high-level positions at big digital brands in 2011.

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