Flickr Head of Product Matthew Rothenberg has announced on his Twitter account that he will be leaving Flickr. From Rothenberg: “Here goes: after 5 years, I will be stepping away from Flickr. Will miss working with such a talented, hard-working, and hard-drinking team.” Rothenberg added in a follow up tweet that he knows what he is doing next but not announcing it just yet.
Since the departure of Flickr Co-Founders Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake, there have now been three different managers of the Flickr product at Yahoo. Kakul Srivastava who took over the job when Butterfield resigned, Douglas Alexander who took over for Srivastava and then Rothenberg.
On his LinkedIn page, Rothenberg described his role at Flickr as being “somewhat akin to piloting a rocket-powered banana-delivery truck* at 20,000mph through a dense forest filled with dangerous and hungry apes. (*p.s. that truck is also on fire.)”
Recently Rothenberg posted a screenshot showing that over the past six months Flickr has been growing under his management, however, Flickr has also come under fire in various press reports recently for failing to keep pace with photo sharing at Facebook. This past weekend Flickr also received criticism for censoring a popular Egyptian Blogger’s photos of Egyptian Secret Police.
I’ve not seen any word yet on who will be taking over the reins at Flickr with Rothenberg’s departure, although Yahoo did last month hire Hotmail Veteran Steve Douty to oversee the Flickr property, among other things, as the Vice President of Communications and Communities.
“Matthew Rothenberg has made the personal decision to move on to a new endeavor. In the interim, Markus Spiering will be stepping in as head of product management. Flickr continues to have an innovative, energetic and creative leadership team that is dedicated to its community of members. Flickr remains a key priority for Yahoo! and we are fully committed to making it the best photo-sharing experience on the Web.”
Update #3: Rothenberg blogs now that he is headed to bit.ly as the new head of product there. Ironically, bit.ly is one of the url shorteners that is blacklisted on Flickr’s site.