While Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn isn’t expected to be completed until sometime later this calendar year, Kara Swisher from Recode.net is reporting today that Microsoft could soon welcome LinkedIn co-founder and Executive Chairman Reid Hoffman to its Board of Directors. As a partner at Greylock Partners, Hoffman has many ties with Silicon Valley and has been nicknamed “The Startup Whisperer." Additionally, Swisher reports that Hoffman has been instrumental to make this week's blockbuster deal happen:
Hoffman was a key behind-the-scenes figure in this deal, which several sources said had its seeds planted many years ago in discussions between Hoffman and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Hoffman was also an active participant in the current discussions, along with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, and it was finally shoved over the finish line last Sunday at his home in Silicon Valley.
Earlier this month, we reported that Microsoft's Board of Directors was pushing a faster move to the cloud as the company has been trying to lessen its reliance on traditional software and switching focus to cloud-based products in recent years, so this new addition to the board would make perfect sense. Furthermore, Hoffman would join other Silicon Valley board members such as Chairman and Former Symantec CEO John Thompson as well as former Cisco exec and Next EV CEO Padmasree Warrior who joined the Board in late 2015.
According to Swisher's report, "no official offer has been made to Hoffman as yet, due to fiduciary issues, and the many-step process has not been set in motion either." Furthermore, the process could be complicated by the fact that Hoffman is currently a board member of Mozilla Corporation whose Firefox browser is a direct competitor to Microsoft offerings. However, Swisher adds that "if it moves forward as many expect, Hoffman would be voted on as a director at the end of the year". Both Microsoft and LinkedIn declined to comment on Swisher's report. Let us know in the comments if you think adding the longtime tech investor to Microsoft's Board of Directors could help the company reinvent itself in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.