A new wave of calls for Mark Zuckerberg to resign is currently embroiling Facebook’s board of directors, once again placing the company’s future leadership into question.
In a new proposal filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), several of Facebook’s investors are asking for Zuckerberg to step down from his role as chair of the board of directors. The letter mostly outlines the Facebook founder’s recent scandal-ridden tenure, which they say has “contributed to Facebook missing, or mishandling, a number of severe controversies, increasing risk exposure and costs to shareholders.”
The proposal also brings into question Zuckerberg’s lack of objectivity when it comes to leading a company he helped start out of his college dorm room as a teen. Founder-led startups are known to be favored in Silicon Valley, but not at the expense of the company, as we learned from former Uber CEO and founder Travis Kalanick’s resignation. And the fact that Zuckerberg is also a majority stakeholder of the publicly-traded company pretty much makes it impossible to oust him, which is also a cause for concern among this group of investors.
They go on to write that the founder’s “dual-class shareholdings give him approximately 60 percent of Facebook’s voting shares, leaving the board, even with a lead independent director, with only a limited ability to check Mr. Zuckerberg’s power.” In conclusion, the group is asking that the chair of the board of directors title go to an “independent” member, who would replace Zuckerberg. The board is set to vote on the proposal to limit Zuckerberg’s power at Facebook on May 30.
Of course, as the face of Facebook and the owner of millions of shares, the CEO is safe in his post as chairman for the time being. He currently holds 53.3 percent of voting rights in the company, making it virtually impossible to force him into resigning.
As the head of the biggest social media network, Zuckerberg has endured much scrutiny over privacy and data breaches on the platform, including testifying in front of the Senate during the Cambridge Analytica scandal. These events in recent years have brought his role as a leader into question, with a similar proposal being brought up back in 2017.
If the day comes when the 34-year-old decides to step down as chair of Facebook’s board of directors, it is probably still a long way down the road. It’s possible these proposals are being done to both improve Facebook’s future financial prospects and as an effort to save the company’s public image. With more effort gradually being put into pressuring Zuckerberg to hand over his powerful role, it’s evident that many members of the company’s board continue to be dissatisfied with his leadership style.