Jive Software is adding four new members to its board of directors, including one of Mark Zuckerberg's direct reports responsible for technical operations at Facebook; the current president of McAfee Software and the Google technologist responsible for the development of Google Chrome and HTML 5 initiatives.
The move is part of what appearts to be Jive's efforts to prepare for an Initial Public Offering. It shows investors that the company has the clout to achieve a level of strength that positions it to compete even more with its chief target: Microsoft.
The new board members include Jonathan Heiliger, vice president of technical operations at Facebook; Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google; David DeWalt, president of McAfee and Charles Robel, who led the board of directors at McAfee during its acquisition by Intel.
In an interview this week, Jive's Chief Executive Officer Tony Zingale gave a breakdown on why the board members were appointed. Here's my take, based on what Zingala said.
Robel is the heavyweight of the group. He's a Silicon Valley king maker who has the accounting and financial experience to bring Jive public - just as he did when he lead the IPO for Yahoo! He's also the former chief executive officer and general partner for Hummer Winblad Partners, a $1 billion venture capital fund.
As Zingale said about Robel's appointment: "You can read behind those lines."
Dewalt bring the security angle, a huge concern for enterprise customers. Dewalt is also part of the enterprise legion of executives who know the inner workings of crafting mega licensing and solutions deals. Remember, Jive is dependent on this solutions business. It's part of what we still think of the paradox it faces. But, you have to show big deals to get investors attention.
Zingale: Dewalt has "led and grown enterprise software companies." Exactly.
Helliger may have the most challenging operations job almost anywhere. He's part of the inner workings of the fastest growing, most ubiquitous social network on the planet. His job is to manage Facebook's infrastructure, a company that has 650 million users. That experience will be brought to Jive as it scales its own cloud-based services.
Zingale: Helliger has "unmatched operations experience."
Pichai is the technologist of the group who apparently pursued the board position with some vigor. Why? Zingala said it has in part something to do with Pichai's interest in the enterprise and going after Microsoft, a common enemy. But Pichai is most of all a world-class technologist. At Google, he manages a suite of Google's consumer products, including Google Toolbar, Chrome and Chrome OS. He is also responsible for the HTML5 and open web platform efforts at Google.
Zingale: "We are taking on Microsoft. He believes in our story. From a personal point of view - he is interested in taking a role."
This is an impressive group. What it shows is Jive's clear intent to be that publicly traded company. Zingale is the other lynchpin in all of this. He's the kind of guy who is just good with people. He can bring in this calbire of board members and is not afraid of the challenges a dynamic board like this can bring when each of them has their own impressive power base.
It's Jive's time for the big tent. Now we will have to see how they execute and balance a business that has a lot of weight in enterprise solutions yet wants to be as lightweight as the most nimble services provider.