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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 29, 2010 at 9:00 PM

Cheezburger hires CFO, founder gets down to business

In the latest indication of its phenomenal growth, Seattle’s Cheezburger Network hired a fulltime chief financial officer.

The move — being announced Wednesday — frees up founder Ben Huh, 32, to focus on recruiting developers, tuning business operations and pursuing more partnerships for a network of Web sites that’s become one of the world’s biggest online humor companies.

“After three years of being stressed out I’d like to take a day off or two,” he said.

Cheezburger hired Pearl Chan (at left) to handle its finances and compliance with human resources policies.

Pearl Chan.jpg

Chan had worked with the company before through CFO Selections, where she also worked with Picnik just before it was sold to Google.

So is Chan cleaning up the Cheezburger finances prior to a sale?

“No, not at all, no such plan in the works,” Huh said.

The company “recognized we need a little bit more structure,” he explained.

Cheezburger has grown to 45 people and is recruiting more editorial staff and developers to work on its internal tools, including a proprietary system for handling and publishing user-generated content. It recently expanded into additional offices on Lower Queen Anne and Huh’s mulling whether to open satellites in Los Angeles and New York.

Cheezburger operates more than 50 humor sites, including its flagship I Can Has Cheezburger, that together generate 340 million page views and 110 million views per month.

Huh said the company continues to be profitable, but it should be generating more revenue from its traffic, which is another thing he’s going to focus on now that he’s built up an executive team.

The big question for fans, though, is whether Huh will be any less funny now that he’s hired more managers to take some pressure off.

Fear not — there’s a new kind of angst to milk for inspiration.

“As I take my hands off more day-to-day operations there’s a little bit of feeling of helplessness,” he said. “There is definitely a feeling of ‘I’m not sure what’s going on over there.’ ”

Comments | More in | Topics: ben huh, icanhascheezburger, Startups

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