Will Zuckerberg avoid the analysts?

March 21, 2012, 8:01 PM UTC

Idle speculation, while waiting for Facebook to go public.

Mark Zuckerberg recently skipped a meeting of bankers and analysts at Facebook HQ, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report said that he “preferred to focus his time on developing the service,” and that he “doesn’t expect to play a hands-on role selling” the company’s upcoming IPO.

Clearly this is a guy who still hasn’t warmed up to the idea of his company going public, and is only doing so to prevent employee mutiny. And I can’t blame him, since being CEO of a public company usually involves all sorts of things that distract from fostering long-term growth — including endless conversations with analysts and hedge fund managers.

So I wonder if Zuckerberg simply won’t partake of such activities, perhaps not even participating in quarterly earnings calls. There’s no requirement that a company CEO be on the line, nor even to hold such calls in the first place. Steve Jobs, for example, was only an occasional presence on Apple’s (AAPL) quarterly earnings calls, sometimes going years between appearances.

Most CEOs can’t get away with such blatant antipathy toward analysts, but Facebook has enough cache to be an exception (just like Apple). After all, this is the same company that has gotten virtually every investment bank in America on its S-1, despite paying just half the going fee rate. Plus, Zuckerberg has an extremely-capable surrogate in Sheryl Sandberg.

Again, I may be reading way too much into yesterday’s absence. But don’t be surprised if Zuckerberg talks in public on his own schedule, rather than based on any fiscal calendar.

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