One of Facebook’s shareholders, who has an $11 million stake, reportedly wants to keep the company’s founder Mark Zuckerberg as CEO. The investor points at the “mishandling” of several crises, including the proliferation of “fake news” and a privacy breach by Cambridge Analytica.
Trillium Asset Management has filed a proposal to fire Facebook’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg, as chairman, according to a report by Business Insider. The investor, holding $11 million worth of shares, has stated that fellow shareholders can’t control the entrepreneur, as he is currently the chairman and CEO of the company and has 60 percent of voting power. Neither Zuckerberg nor the company has confirmed the report.
According to the investor, cited by the media, only an independent chair would afford the “clearest separation of power between the CEO and the rest of the board” and let the latter monitor management effectively.
“A CEO who also serves as chair can exert excessive influence on the board and its agenda, weakening the board’s oversight of management,” their proposal reportedly reads.
The investor blames Facebook for “missing, or mishandling, a number of severe controversies, increasing risk exposure and costs to shareholders” because of the lack of an independent board. According to the statement, this list includes the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the private company accessed the data of 87 million users, and inconsistent measures to combat fake news, as well as alleged Russian meddling in the US 2016 presidential election.
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Facebook’s independent investors have already tried to strip the chairmanship from Zuckerberg. Although 51 percent of these shareholders had voted for it, they failed to remove Zuckerberg, who has Class B shares and the majority of the voting power.
The recent rebellion has come hot on the heels of Facebook’s 19 percent drop in early trading on July 26, which wiped out nearly $120 billion of its market value. The plunge happened the day after the company revealed that user growth has slowed down while the company tries to mold a new strategy “putting privacy first” following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This has become one of the biggest losses ever for a public company.