March 28, 2011

Former White House Press Secretary Gibbs Headed to Facebook?


Facebook has poached talent from a lot of other companies as of late, but this may be the first time it has dipped into White House personnel. Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is rumored to be taking a job at Facebook as a senior communications official, reported The New York Times‘ Dealbook blog. While the NY Times says the info comes from “people briefed on the negotiations,” neither Facebook nor Gibbs have confirmed anything, reports Digital Trends.

Gibbs, who served under President Obama for two years before resigning in February, may opt to wait to jump into the private sector, said the Times' sources, and instead help build up Obama’s re-election campaign.

Then again, he may follow the money. Gibbs would likely make millions of dollars with Facebook, particularly if he becomes an employee prior to the company's hugely anticipated initial public offering (IPO), which is theoretically planned for next year. According to The New York Times‘ sources, Gibbs is vying to receive both a cash salary as well as shares in the company, which has been valued at around $65 billion. When Facebook goes public, some say it could be history’s largest stock offering.

“With around 600 million users worldwide, Facebook would also give Gibbs a wider direct audience than would the President, who has a mere 308.7 million constituents who make up the U.S. population,” Digital Trends noted wryly.

Gibbs would serve many purposes for Facebook, as both a seasoned public relations man and a Washington insider. Facebook could use a little positive PR right now. After the movie “The Social Network,” which depicted Facebook's launch as less-than-agreeable, and continued clashes between Facebook's Marc Zuckerberg and privacy advocates, Gibbs would likely have his work cut out for him.

Of course, this isn't the first connection between Facebook and the Obama administration. Gibbs served as one of the architects of President Obama’s historic presidential bid in 2008, which was greatly helped by the skillful use of social media to bring the notoriously politically disengaged demographic of young Americans into voting centers.

If hired, Gibbs would serve under Facebook vice president for global communications Elliot Schrage, who came to the company from Google in 2008. Other potential Gibbs job offers reportedly include chairman of the Democratic National Committee, says Digital Trends.

Check out what TMC CEO Rich Tehrani had to say by clicking here.




Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell



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