Facebook loses key ad exec to Square

Gokul Rajaram is abandoning his senior post at the social network to help the buzzy mobile payments startup perfect its software for businesses.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
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Gokul Rajaram speaks onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013. Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch

After three years guiding the social network's ad strategy, Facebook Product Director of Ads Gokul Rajaram is jumping ship.

Buzzy mobile payment company Square said Thursday that it has hired the social-networking executive to lead its product engineering efforts and oversee software development for Square Register, its point-of-sale system for businesses.

Rajaram joined Facebook when his startup Chai Labs was acquired by the company in August 2010. Since then, he has served as an instrumental moneymaker for Facebook, guiding the social network through a number of significant advertising initiatives, such as Facebook Exchange and mobile ad releases, that have helped the company better monetize the attention of its 1.11 billion users.

Facebook's loss is Square's gain. The former Facebook executive knows a thing or two about making money on a grand scale, having spent more than a decade in advertising and previously managing Google AdSense.

"I've been fortunate to work for two mission-driven, world-changing companies, and Square's vision and passion for helping businesses grow is inspiring," Rajaram said in a statement. "I'm thrilled to join the team and help build amazing products that drive economic growth and empower local businesses around the world."

Rajaram's decision to leave Facebook closely follows the exit of several other notable executives. General counsel Ted Ullyot is currently on his way out the door, and Paul Adams, Facebook's global head of brand design, left at the end of May. Earlier this year, the company lost high profile leaders like product director Blake Ross, accounting chief David Spillane, and engineering director Josh Wiseman.