Facebook still struggles to replace Emily White who was Director of Business Operations at Instagram; since White left to work at Snapchat in December 2013, her position has been vacant. Who wouldn’t want to work for Instagram, which has grown its users from 30 million to 200 million since it was acquired by Facebook in 2012?
It isn’t that Facebook executives are not finding qualified applicants, the fact is that a few have turned down the offer to take White’s place. One reason is the special connection Emily White had with Sheryl Sandberg, who brought her to Facebook. In her time at Instagram, White had a direct line to Sandberg and was able to push the business agenda up to the parent company easily. In addition, Sandberg gave White substantial autonomy at Instagram, and a new head of operations might not be able to expect the same amount of independence, for fear of becoming an ordinary “middle manager.”
Another reason for the lack of interest in the position is that Facebook and Instagram are already seen by some as somewhat old hat social media, and many who are qualified may prefer a smaller, faster growing and more exciting company.
Finally, in spite of the dramatic growth in Instagram’s user base, it is still delayed in monetization efforts. Some believe Facebook is intentionally holding off on this Instagram monetization strategies until ad revenue slows and it needs a new focus.
In the meantime, the “Help Wanted” sign still hangs at Instagram.