Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Fired Facebook Acquisitions Exec Lands at Twitter

Mike Brown, the former Facebook corporate development executive who was dismissed for buying its stock on secondary markets, has taken a similar job at Twitter.

Brown, who had helped negotiate many of Facebook’s so-called “talent acquisitions” is to be Twitter’s director of corporate development and will report to Kevin Thau, VP of business development. He starts today, Twitter confirmed.

While the issue of insider trading of private companies is a sensitive one, Twitter was apparently able to see Brown’s side of the story.

Brown had purchased Facebook shares on the secondary market last fall out of an apparent desire to take a bigger stake in the company he pitched to many entrepreneurs. Facebook fired him in February based on its policy against insider trading by employees.

Brown stayed out of the spotlight until a report about him surfaced that suggested the stock purchase for which he was fired was based on knowledge of Facebook’s coming $1.5 billion funding round from Goldman Sachs. In a public statement, Brown admitted to the stock purchase but said he had “absolutely no knowledge” of the Goldman Sachs funding.

According to sources, Brown had also been in talks with Google about a role on its corporate development team before accepting the job at Twitter. After Brown was fired, Facebook hired Google corp dev executive Amin Zoufonoun.

That Twitter is hiring Brown presumably means it will step up its efforts to make acquisitions. The company has previously made something like seven start-up purchases, most of them quite small, including Summize, Mixer Labs, Atebits and Smallthought Systems.

It’s also notable that Brown has jumped to Twitter, given it is one of Facebook’s main rivals. (According to LinkedIn, there are 11 former Facebook employees who currently work at Twitter.)

Brown (like many other new Twitter hires, in our experience!) has recently stepped up his tweeting, with eight tweets in the last month or so compared to zero in the year before. He tweets at @mikeisbrown.

Prior to joining Facebook in 2009, Brown had been a venture capitalist with Foundation Capital and Partech International. He is a graduate of Yale University and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.