Facebook appoints YouTube exec

Social network site Facebook has appointed Gideon Yu, the former YouTube chief financial officer, as its new CFO signalling that it intends to head for an initial public offering.

Yu replaces Michael Sheridan, a long-time Silicon Valley executive, and will join Facebook shortly. Yu only became CFO of video-sharing site YouTube shortly before it was acquired by Google last year for $1.65bn.

Facebook gave no reason for the change of its financial executive, which comes as founder Mark Zuckerberg faces a court case alleging that he stole the idea for Facebook from fellow Harvard University students.

Prior to joining YouTube, Yu was treasurer of search giant Yahoo!, having graduated from Stanford University and studied for his MBA at Harvard Business School.

The appointment of Yu follows that earlier this month of venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya as Facebook's vice-president of product marketing and operations.

With the appointment of Yu, speculation is increasing that Facebook, having rebuffed several takeover offers including one from Google, will push for an IPO on Nasdaq. Microsoft has also been linked to a bid, with speculation that it was considering a $6bn offer.

With 32m users signed up to the site it has been valued as high as $10bn. Its larger rival MySpace was snapped up for a mere $580m by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

Facebook's membership has exploded in recent months after the site opened its membership up to non-students and its programming interface to developers.

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