Facebook shareholders back proposal to remove Mark Zuckerberg as chairman

Lloyd Doyle
October 19, 2018

Several investors have joined a proposal to oust Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg as chairman, Wednesday, October 17, U.S. time. They oversee money including pension funds and joined activist and original filer Trillium Asset Management. The social media platform is also in the radar for allegedly playing a role in the proliferation of fake news and foreign meddling in the United States elections. In March, Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica, a political data analytics firm, for violating its data privacy policies. Since then, the group has added a breach in September that affected 30 million Facebook accounts, as well as the departure of Instagram and WhatsApp executives, to its grievances.

"We are entering a new phase of Facebook's growth", said Jonas Kron, a senior vice president at Trillium. Zuckerberg acknowledged last month that his company had been late in discovering that foreign actors were running coordinated campaigns to interfere with the elections.

If the letter had been released just a few hours later, the list could've included today's news that Facebook allegedly inflated video metrics intentionally, thus deceiving advertisers and convincing media companies to invest heavily in video departments, according to documents newly filed as part of a potential class-action lawsuit. Last year, a similar proposal that was looking for an independent chairman was defeated. The mutiny process is being attempted once again, as Zuckerberg is alleged to have caused "uncertainty, confusion, and inefficiency in board and management function and relations".

The latest proposal, meant for Facebook's annual shareholder meeting in May 2019, was still worth filing as it would draw attention to Facebook's problems, said Rhode Island State Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The company's lead independent director, Susan Desmond-Hellman, who is the chief executive officer of The Gates Foundation, serves as a liaison between Zuckerberg and the independent directors, and represents the interests of all shareholders.

The Pennsylvania Treasury held 38,737 shares and the Illinois Treasury owned 190,712 shares as of August.

In July, Facebook's shares lost almost a quarter of their value after its earnings for the April-June period missed market estimates.

"We need Facebook's insular boardroom to make a serious commitment to addressing real risks - reputational, regulatory, and the risk to our democracy - that impact the company, its share owners, and ultimately the hard-earned pensions of thousands of New York City workers", New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said in a statement.

The recent data breach that led to data of almost 30 million users being stolen added fresh fuel to Facebook's troubles.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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