Benchmark-backed Bebo hires Google managing director

Benchmark Capital-backed social networking site Bebo has hired information technology veteran and former Google managing director Joanna Shields as president, and will move out of Benchmark’s offices this week.

Bebo, a social networking site backed by US private equity firm Benchmark Capital, has hired former Google managing director Joanna Shields as president.

Bebo: new managing director and offices

Shields was previously managing director of strategic partnerships for Google, the search engine, and will be based in Bebo’s new London office.

The London arm of Bebo has been working from Benchmark Capital’s offices since June 2006 and are moving into new premises this week, a spokeswoman said.

Shields will report to co-founder and chief executive officer, Michael Birch, and will seek to expand Bebo’s international business.

Benchmark Capital backed Bebo in May 2006 with a $15.5 million (€12 million) investment.  The site was launched in July 2005 and has more than 30 million members.

In November, Benchmark Capital raised $550 million for its third European venture capital fund before having made a single exit from its previous fund.

Benchmark Capital was founded in the US in 1995.  The firm’s London office opened in 2000 and the Israeli office followed in 2001. The company has three funds managing $1.4 billion and has made more than 50 investments.