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Hoodie Gate: Facebook CEO's attire a sign of 'immaturity'?

Sharon Gaudin | May 10, 2012
Of all the things discussed and analyzed surrounding Facebook's upcoming initial public offering, perhaps the most surprising -- or just plain funniest -- is co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's hoodie.

Of all the things discussed and analyzed surrounding Facebook's upcoming initial public offering, perhaps the most surprising -- or just plain funniest -- is co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's hoodie.

Facebook launched a pre-IPO roadshow this week, meeting with investors in New York, Boston and other cities to pitch the company's stock to potential investors.

Zuckerberg was on hand to talk to investors at the first roadshow stop in New York on Monday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, wearing his classic hoodie sweatshirt, leaves New York City's Sheraton Hotel on Monday after making an appearance at the social network's IPO roadshow. (Photo: Reuters / Eduardo Munoz)

The young CEO was criticized by some attendees for showing up to speak to some of the country's most influential and buttoned-down investors in jeans and a so-called "hoodie" sweatshirt. It was definitely not the suit and tie that the financial types are used to seeing corporate executives wear.

In a videotaped interview with Bloomberg News, Michael Pachter, managing director with Wedbush Securities, said Zuckerberg's decision to wear his "signature hoodie ... is actually showing investors he doesn't care very much."

"He's going to be him and he's going to do what he's always done. I think that's a mark of immaturity," Pachter added. "He's got to show [investors] the respect that they deserve because he's asking them for their money."

He said that Zuckerberg's seeming lack of respect for the process tells him that the CEO might not be perfectly suited for the CEO post in a company that's expected to complete one of the biggest IPOs in tech history.

"He most certainly is a genius and he really has done something that no one else could do," said Pachter. "I think he is well suited to be the chief product officer, the chief user experience officer ... to decide every feature that goes in. I'm not sure he's the right guy to run a corporation and to answer to shareholders."

Zuckerberg didn't attend Facebook's presentation to financial analysts in Boston on Tuesday.

Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group, said Zuckerberg's absence from the Boston meeting shouldn't hurt the firm's IPO. The company's reputation, he said, is strong enough to sell itself.

He did suggest, though, that Zuckerberg should try to act more respectful to the people he hopes will fund his company.

"Some Wall Street types are muttering about Zuckerberg's attire being disrespectful and immature, and they could be right," he said.

"It could be taken as studied indifference, arrogance, or that he simply didn't think about what he was putting on. He was there to sell Facebook as a company and the first rule of sales is that you don't give your prospective customers any reason to be uncomfortable before you start selling them," Olds added.

 

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