Facebook, which has said that it is not a media company, has hired a CIO from a large media conglomerate. Atish Banerjea, formerly CIO of NBCUniversal has replaced Tim Campos, who earlier this year announced he was moving on from the social media giant to start a new company.
Banerjea updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect that he is now responsible for overseeing Facebook's global IT function. Banerjea wrote that his team is responsible for "building and running systems that will help scale Facebook globally enabling the company to continue making the world more open and connected."
Facebook: Media concern or tech powerhouse?
Banerjea's appointment comes at an interesting time for the social network. Some media outlets have attributed President-elect Donald Trump's victory to Facebook, arguing that the company's news feed spread misinformation. The argument forced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to denounce the notion that Facebook news content somehow tilted the election a "pretty crazy idea."
Zuckerberg has also contested the idea that Facebook is a media organization, calling it a tech company. His comments revived the debate about what exactly you call a company that distributes content, some of which is certainly news.
While the debate over exactly what Facebook is rages there’s little doubt NBCUniversal is a media enterprise. While working as CIO there from January 2013 until September, Banerjea used digital technologies to drive change. In a 2015 article for CIO.com, Banerjea writes that he improved the help desk, increased email inbox capacities, and upgraded its mobile and desktop devices. He also upgraded the company’s infrastructure and hired a significant infusion of new IT talent.
“Just a couple of years ago, the NBCUniversal technology organization was largely a back-office IT group that was not very well-connected with business unit leadership,” Banerjea wrote. “Service levels reflected this disconnect, which had resulted from years of underinvestment. IT needed to be repositioned as a business partner that could help move the company's strategic agenda forward.”
Banerjea also partnered with the ad sales team to consolidate TV and digital platforms into one portfolio and invested in data analytics to help boost top-line revenue and profitability.
At Facebook, the focus is digital
Data, analytics and digital capabilities are Facebook’s sweet spot, as Banerjea takes over a fast-running IT department. Campos, who joined Facebook in 2010, instituted a global IT support service that includes video conferencing infrastructure, a custom-built CRM system and data analytics for the company's advertisers. Campos also helped build performance management and recruiting infrastructure as well as "business applications that help our data centers and finance organizations scale their impact through technology and not burdensome overhead," Campos wrote on Facebook in August.
Meanwhile, Michael Bradshaw has stepped into the CIO role at NBCUniversal, where he oversees global IT operations, infrastructure, applications and strategy, according to his LinkedIn profile. He joined the media company in July as CIO of enterprise technologies.
Prior to joining NBCUniversal, Bradshaw worked as CIO for Lockheed Martin's mission systems and training business. He managed IT services that supported business programs and functions and led the IT integration for major acquisition, resulting in a global business unit of more than 35,000 employees.