Billion-dollar Facebook investor tells Mark Zuckerberg to quit as chairman

Facebook's founder needs to step down from the company's board, according to a major investor

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 03 April 2018 15:06 BST
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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg should quit as chairman of the company, according to an investor with a $1 billion (£712 million) stake in the technology giant.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who oversees the city’s pension fund, told CNBC that there needed to be more independent board oversight at Facebook in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Mr Stringer said revelations that the UK-based data analytics firm harvested personal information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts in the build up to the 2016 US elections represented “a risk to our democracy” and highlighted major issues within Facebook.

“I think there needs to be an independent chairman of the board,” Mr Stringer said. “I think we need more independent directors and directors that have experience in terms of data and ethics and all the things that these emerging huge companies need in light of what’s happened.”

Mr Zuckerberg owns a controlling stake in Facebook, meaning he will have the final say in any changes to the board. Comments on Monday regarding the governance of Facebook suggest that he has no intention of stepping down as chairman.

“One of the things that I feel really lucky we have is this company structure, where at the end of the day, it’s a controlled company,” Mr Zuckerberg told Vox.

“We are not at the whims of short-term shareholders. We can really design these products and decisions with what is going to be in the best interest of the community over time.”

A spokesperson for Facebook told The Independent that the company has no comment on Mr Stringer's remarks.

Speaking on behalf of New York’s pension fund, Mr Stringer called for four changes to Facebook’s board. As well as Mr Zuckerberg stepping down as chairman, Mr Stringer said three new independent directors should be added to the board and a new data privacy oversight committee should be established. Finally, he requested for an executive “clawback” policy to be implemented.

Mr Stringer said that implementing such changes would be a “slow slog” but remains confident that they can be realised.

“We’re going to keep coming back at them year after year, I think giving testimony in Congress and pressure from other public pension funds,” Stringer said.

“We’re not trying to harm Facebook, we’re trying to make it a stronger company.”

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