Of Facebook’s 901 million users, the majority (56 percent) are women — yet the social media giant has no women on its board. Facebook is seeking to remedy this and has hired executive-recruiting firm Spencer Stuart to identify prospective individuals.
You’d think Facebook would want to include women on its board, which currently has seven members total. Consider Pinterest: Tech Crunch’s Josh Constine wrote that, in February, Pinterest had “over 10.4 million registered users, 9 million monthly Facebook-connected users, and 2 million daily Facebook users.” 97.7 percent of Pinterest Facebook fans are female.
Back in February, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), the US’s second-largest pension fund, told Facebook that the lack of women on its board was “unacceptable” and that “we believe that investors and the company would benefit from a larger, more diverse board.”
Once Facebook makes its initial public offering on May 18 and becomes a publicly traded company, it will need a “seasoned corporate director and people with a variety of backgrounds,” says Dennis Carey, vice chairman at executive search firm Korn/Ferry International in Bloomberg. The lack of diversity on Facebook’s board of directors stands out all the more as only 11.3 percent of Fortune 500 companies have all-male boards.
Certainly there are plenty of female director candidates who’ve not only served on corporate boards but have experience in finance and marketing and as executives. Indeed, 18 Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. Bloomberg notes these possible candidates for Facebook’s board:
- Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s own chief operating officer, who is also a director at Walt Disney Co.. (Though, as ZDNet’s Emil Protalinski points out, “if she hasn’t been added by now, one has to wonder why she would be once Facebook is a public company.”)
- Lorrie Marie Norrington, formerly president of eBay Inc.’s Marketplaces business; she is now a director at Autodesk Inc., DirecTV and Lucasfilm Ltd.
- Marna Whittington, head of Allianz Global Investors’ U.S.-based Allianz Global Investors Capital; she is now a director at Macy’s Inc..
Facebook’s current board includes the CEO of the Washington Post, Donald E. Graham; Netflix CEO Reed Hastings; Jim Breyer, the managing general partner of Accel Partners and an early investor in Facebook; venture capitalist Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz; Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital and Founders Fund; Erskine Bowles, who is the former White House Chief of Staff and the president emeritus of University of North Carolina; and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook surely knows that all eyes will be even more focused on the company after the IPO. Zuckerberg will control 57.3 percent of the company’s shares and, hence, that much of its voting power: All the more reason for Facebook’s board to be something more than what Carey refers to as a “rubber stamp” for its chief.
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