Jeff Weiner is an American businessman best known for his legendary success as CEO of the job-search and business networking company LinkedIn. During his 11-year tenure, Weiner turned the company from a basic job board with 33 million members and $78 million in annual revenue, into the world's largest network of professionals, with 675 million members and $7.5 billion in annual revenue. A major highlight of his career came in 2016 when Weiner played a prominent role in the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft for $26 billion.
Previously, Weiner was an executive at multiple high-profile companies, including Yahoo!'s Network Division and Warner Bros., where he helped oversee the company's online efforts in 1994, just two years after graduating college. In addition to his many commercial achievements, Weiner is also active in the non-profit sector, serving on the Board of Directors of DonorsChoose and Malaria No More. His generous nature was especially highlighted in 2016 when he donated $14 billion as stock bonus to his employees at LinkedIn after a severe plunge in share prices.
Weiner's auspicious start to corporate superstardom began in 1988 when he enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. Initially, Weiner double majored: European intellectual history from the school's Arts & Sciences department, and economics from the prestigious Wharton School. But after spending a semester studying in Japan, Weiner pivoted in the direction of commerce, later earning a Bachelor of Science degree in economics in 1992.
Looking back at his Wharton days, Weiner has recognized how critical his alma mater has been to his current success. "I took a management class at Penn that really changed my entire career path," he said, before elaborating on how, once while collaborating with a group of engineers from DuPont, the older men had assured the young university student that a new emerging technology called "the Internet" would never be able to be commercialized. Even as a junior, Weiner recognized the failure of that vision, remarking, "But it was my first introduction to the technology and it led to where I am today so I will be forever grateful for that."
Since those early days, the former LinkedIn top boss has returned to his alma mater on multiple occasions. In 2018, the CEO was back on campus, this time to deliver the commencement address at the Wharton School. His 17-minute speech warned the 20-somethings that they will face two defining issues. The first was socio-economic stratification, i.e., the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The second issue afflicting people was tribalism, Weiner warned the grads. "Technology also allows us to further filter out those who are different than us," he said. "And that makes us unaware of what other ‘tribes’ are thinking."
As someone who has spent his professional career expanding the reaches of the technology sector, Weiner's advice carries some weight. In recognition of his many insights and accomplishments, the executive was presented the 2013 Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Achievement Award. As part of the award ceremony, Weiner engaged in a fireside chat, during which he shared some of his entrepreneurial wisdom that got him to the very top.