Former Googler Gets Top Spot At Bebo

    July 29, 2009

Bebo’s last head, Joanna Shields, left the post about 14 months ago, and the long delay in appointing a replacement raised a number of questions about what direction the social networking brand might take.  But now Bebo has a new head, and his name is Stephane Panier.

Panier’s resume is very impressive.  Educated at the French engineering institute ENSAM and Harvard, he went on to work at AREVA’s nuclear power plants and Booz Allen Hamilton.  Then, Panier spent six years at Google, and more recently, he’s been COO of Bebo.

The fact that Panier (or anyone) was hired corroborates AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s recent claim that Bebo is not for sale.  The fact that Panier’s so well-qualified may indicate that AOL still intends to funnel a lot of effort into making Bebo a big success.

Indeed, Jon Brod, the EVP of AOL Ventures, said in a statement, "He is the ideal leader to build on Bebo’s existing successes, to chart a course for its future, and to execute against that vision."

Panier himself also said, "The past nine months have seen us create and deliver a more relevant and open social experience for our users across both new and existing markets, and I look forward to building on this foundation."