Facebook Grabs Another Exec from Google

Google director of social media Ethan Beard has flown the coop to join Facebook in a senior business development role.

Beard follows Sheryl Sandberg, who earlier this month quit as head of sales for Google AdSense and AdWords to join Mark Zuckerberg’s company as chief operating officer. Other former Google execs to take gigs at Facebook include YouTube’s CFO Gideon Yu and Google Checkout product head Benjamin Ling.

Google confirmed Beard’s departure and said it plans to fill his vacated post internally. The company invoked its “deep bench,” as it did when Sandberg left. “While Ethan will be missed, we have the internal expertise necessary to execute on our goals as we seek to continue to meet the needs of our users, customers and publishers,” a spokesperson said in a statement. Beard was at Google for five years.

Facebook also confirmed it had hired Beard as director of business development but declined to say more.

Facebook has embarked on a hiring spree that’s only likely to accelerate as Sandberg takes the operational reins and the company prepares to expand aggressively overseas. Its available job listings include 18 openings in sales and account management, four in business development, and six in product and corporate marketing. The sales gigs are predominantly based in the U.S., with available jobs in Chicago, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, and Detroit.

Beard confirmed his role at Facebook, and said he was primarily motivated by the chance to make a difference at the firm.

“I love Google and it was a very difficult decision to leave,” he wrote in an e-mailed statement. “Facebook is at a very exciting time in its development where incredible growth and product development is evolving into a powerful business. I’m looking forward to participating in this process and working in an environment where my actions can have a strong and significant impact on the core business.”

Nonetheless, his move and Sandberg’s come in the wake of an unprecedented rough spot for Google, as concerned shareholders punish the company’s stock over a sequential monthly decline in click volume, reported in February by comScore.

Additionally, there’s a growing sense in the analyst and investor community that the company’s bottom line is not inoculated from the impact of a recession. Still, Google remains very profitable. Net income for Q4 rose 12 percent year over year to $1.21 billion on a 51 percent increase in revenues.

This story was updated to add a quote from Beard.

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