Xing CEO quits, replaced by former eBay drone

A whirlwind of rumours surrounding Xing late last week implied that the talented Lars Hinrichs, co-founder and long-time CEO of LinkedIn competitor Xing, was poised to resign. Twitter was alight with the chatter but when I emailed Xing for comment, spokesman Thorsten Vespermann came out with a blog post and statement which seemed to suggest all was well.

“There are currently some rumors in some German media and they are more or less based on a news from the News agency dpa-afx. After we realized this we called them and asked for an update and this is the result (sorry, I didn’t find any English translation from them..)”

He basically said that because Xing is a listed company it couldn’t comment, but they did deny the DPA-AFX story that Hinrichs was off.

However, today we have confirmation that Dr Stefan Gross-Selbeck, former head of eBay Germany, will succeed Lars Hinrichs as chief executive. Hinrichs will join Xing’s Supervisory Board, after five years at the helm, effective January 15, 2009.

Although a co-founding CEO normally leaves the firm only if it has sold, the fact that Xing floated a while back means Hinrichs will have realised an exit of sorts.

He blogs today that: ” I’ve decided to dedicate more of my time outside of my commitment to XING to new entrepreneurial challenges.”