Pinterest has hired a key executive to lead investor relations as it gears up for the possibility of going public in 2019.
The company has tapped the former Google and Alibaba exec Jane Penner to spearhead investor communications and manage shareholder relationships on its behalf.
Penner led investor relations for the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba ahead of its $25 billion initial public offering in 2014 — the largest IPO in history. Before that, she was head of investor relations at Google.
Penner posted on her LinkedIn account that she had started at Pinterest in November. A Pinterest representative confirmed the news to Business Insider.
The move is the largest indication yet of Pinterest’s intention to focus on bringing top talent to interface with Wall Street, an important step for the company as it looks to prove itself as a viable business and rapidly boost its revenue ahead of a mid-2019 IPO. Companies typically hire investor-relations executives a few months before going public.
Pinterest is poised to double its revenue this year to nearly $1 billion, according to a CNBC report from this summer, and has a valuation of $13 billion to $15 billion. In September, it announced it had 250 million monthly users, up from 200 million a year before.
Penner’s hire comes on the heels of Pinterest’s hiring last month of Andréa Mallard as its first chief marketing officer. Mallard had been the CMO of Gap Inc.’s Athleta brand.
The company has been making major updates to its ad products as well. It recently unveiled the biggest update to its self-serve Ads Manager tool in two years, for instance, with new features that let advertisers set up and target campaigns in three steps. It also added a carousel ad format that lets marketers feature five images within an ad, similar to formats on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
2019 is expected to be a banner year for initial public offerings, with a roster of hopefuls including Uber, Lyft, Slack, and Airbnb.