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2/10/2011
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Yammer Beefs Up Executive Suite

Enterprise social networking software developer hires leaders from Alcatel-Lucent and CouchOne, promotes communications director.

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Two months after raising $25 million in third-round funding, enterprise social networking software developer Yammer on Wednesday expanded its executive ranks, hiring Greg Lowe of Alcatel-Lucent and Mikeal Rogers of CouchOne, and promoting Dee Anna McPherson.

"As we continue to compete in an innovative and increasingly competitive market, it is important for us to keep developing and building a team of passionate and dedicated individuals," said David Sacks, founder and CEO at Yammer, in a statement. "I'm thrilled to promote Dee Anna and add Greg and Mikeal to the team to fuel our next phase of growth."

In December, Yammer raised $25 million, bringing the San Francisco company's total financing to $40 million. At the time, Yammer said it would use the money to scale its operations, triple its engineering team, increase its sales operation, and open offices in Europe and Australia.

Lowe, previously social media and collaboration architect at Alcatel-Lucent, was named enterprise social networking strategist at Yammer. In this new role, he primarily will be responsible for customer engagement, and for providing feedback and support during product rollouts, Yammer said in a statement.

"As I talked to each of the folks at Yammer, I was really happy to see the energy and enthusiasm about the possibilities. What was clear, based on the early discussions, is that they want to better understand what customers want and need. The desire to listen and act made it clear that this was a fantastic opportunity," Lowe wrote in his personal blog.

During his time at Alcatel-Lucent, which began in 2006 according to his LinkedIn profile, Lowe helped executives use social media to improve internal communications, and led the creation of the telecommunications company's Yammer network. At the time Lowe left, more than 10,000 Alcatel-Lucent employees participated in the Yammer network, he said.

"I have been engaged with Yammer since the launch and am excited to work with them to drive change and innovation in organizations through social collaboration," said Lowe. "Yammer's commitment to providing the best product to customers, by listening to the business challenges they face on a daily basis, is a big part of the reason I am joining the team. I saw the Yammer groundswell at Alcatel-Lucent and how it brought a new level of teamwork to the company, and I'm motivated to share that experience with others."

In addition to focusing on customer engagement and collaboration, Yammer hopes to expand its network of third-party applications and the number and scope of integrations built on its platform, the company said. To further this goal, Yammer recruited Rogers as developer advocate, a person dedicated to increasing the number of applications that customers, partners, and third-party developers build on Yammer, according to the company.

Rogers will be third-party developers' advocate within Yammer, with influence on product and platform strategy. He also will head the external developer network, and lead guidance on issues and product tools, Yammer said.

Before joining Yammer, Rogers was a developer and engineer at CouchOne, which on Wednesday merged with Membase to form Couchbase. Rogers also has held similar positions at Mozilla, Open Source Applications Foundation, Real Networks, and Interland, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Yammer did not only look externally for its latest round of executive talent. The company promoted McPherson, previously director of communications, to vice president of communications at Yammer. In this position, she will continue to build brand awareness, create and manage the company's customer advisory program, and build thought leadership, Yammer said.

Competition is getting tougher in the enterprise social networking arena, as Yammer, Salesforce.com's Chatter, and Socialtext, amongst others, vie for share. Salesforce.com took out a much-maligned Super Bowl commercial for Chatter, but Yammer reportedly bought the Chatter keyword on Google Adwords, said the Howard Development blog. SocialText, in January, began offering a free migration deal that lets Yammer-using companies move to Socialtext at a discount. And last month, Tibco launched Tibbr.

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