Gideon Yu, a venture capitalist who previously served as the CFO of Facebook, has made an intriguing and unusual career choice.
He’s going to work for the San Francisco 49ers. As the team’s chief strategy officer.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News has obtained the internal e-mail from owner Jed York announcing the hire: “As our Chief Strategy Officer, Gideon will work closely with me to maximize our strategic and business prospects and in the future, lead us in our development of new businesses and revenue streams. In the near term, he will work closely with Larry and Patty on our Santa Clara stadium project, handling several key elements of the stadium financing plan to make sure we are ready for construction in 2013.”
It makes sense to prop up the league’s sputtering effort to build a new stadium in Santa Clara. Still, given the unsettled realities of the NFL labor situation, it’s hard not to wonder whether York is positioning the franchise for a possible post-CBA existence in which 32 teams will be competing without salary caps or other restrictions. With the league potentially splitting into a collection of haves and have-mores, York’s goal could be to rely on Yu’s expertise to max out the team’s money-making capabilities, so that the Niners could then be one of the organizations that will be able to attract players like his uncle, Eddie DeBartolo, once did — by spending cash by the truckloads.