Diary of an IPO: What role does a CEO play when it comes to investor relations? Better yet, what role should a CEO play?

Posted by on April 23rd, 2012

While the question might seem mundane, that doesn’t seem to be the case with respect to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

A few weeks ago it was reported that Mr. Zuckerberg did not attend a meeting of analysts and investment bankers that took place in his very own office.  In my experience, this is shocking and it is probably an indication of what is to come once the company completes its IPO and raises hundreds of millions of dollars from its investors.

The role of CEO is one of (a) visionary, (b) leader and (c) articulator of the company’s business strategy and plan.  It is the CEO (and of course his or her team) that investors invest in and who they expect will provide them with the comfort in knowing that their investment dollars are wisely spent. If Mr. Zuckerberg is disregarding this responsibility, investors should pay close attention.

While Facebook’s CFO is right in saying that Mr. Zuckerberg needs to focus his time on developing the Facebook service, I suspect that there was more to his absence.  Combine this decision with the way in which he sidestepped his Board and even his consigliere and COO, Sheryl Sandberg, until only a week or so before the acquisition of Instagram and I would once again submit that investors need to pay close attention to Mr. Zuckerberg’s actions as well as what he does or doesn’t say in his public communications.

Given my contacts in the investment banking community, I am hopeful that I will receive an invite to a New York investor briefing during the company’s upcoming IPO roadshow – I assume they will have one. I am most interested in whether Mr. Zuckerberg will grace us with his presence.

Stay tuned . . .