LinkedIn rival Xing’s founder and CEO Lars Hinrichs has stepped down from the post, and is being replaced by Dr. Stefan Gross-Selbeck, eBay’s general manager for Germany. But Hinrichs remains on the company’s board and remains its largest shareholder.
Rumours had circulated in news reports, which Hinrichs said on Twitter were “false”, but today Hinrichs, who started Xing in August 2003 but renamed it three months later, confirmed on his blog: “After five exciting and successful years, I’ve decided to dedicate more of my time outside of my commitment to Xing to new entrepreneurial challenges. Now I’m able to concentrate once again on that which matters to me as an entrepreneur: developing new ideas and giving them life by means of entrepreneurial spirit.”
No further info given behind the CEO swap. Under Hinrichs, Xing has tried to scale up to fight LinkedIn by buying smaller, country-specific European business networks – Spain’s eConozco, with 150,000 members, in March 2007; then Spain’s Neurona three months later with 830,000 users, before taking Turkey’s Cember in December for 4.36 million euros, adding another 280,000 users – for a combined €14 million. On its home ground in Europe, it’s beating LinkedIn, which last year hired a European MD, but Xing sees its real growth opportunity in China. Under Gross-Selbeck, eBay’s German site has become its second market outside the US. Release.
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