Monday, March 28, 2011

Facebook is in talks to hire Robert Gibbs, US president Barack Obama's former press secretary, to manage the social network's communications department, according to the New York Times.

Gibbs, who quit his White House post in February after two years as one of Obama's closest confidants, will help guide Facebook through a planned initial public offering in 2012, the paper reported on Sunday night.

The talks are at an early stage and no formal offer has been made, sources familiar with the discussions told the New York Times. However, Facebook is said to be pressing Gibbs to make a quick decision.

Facebook and Gibbs declined to comment.

Gibbs left the Obama administration as part of a widespread reshuffle to prepare for the final two years of the presidential term. However, the experienced Democrat spokesman is said to have remained inside Obama's inner circle despite having no formal post in the White House.

According to the New York Times, Gibbs had been planning to help Obama campaign for a second term in office before taking a lucrative private sector job. Gibbs would receive a cash salary as well as shares in Facebook potentially worth millions of dollars if he were to take the role, people briefed on the talks said.

Mark Zuckerberg has stepped up Facebook's lobbying in Washington ahead of a plan to go public early next year. As Facebook has grown, so has its dealing with policy makers including the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of the National Intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The 600 million-strong social network was valued at $50bn (£31bn) in January, when Goldman Sachs led a funding round, but is now being talked about as worth up to $75bn by investors eager to get a piece of the fast-growing site.


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