Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg Beats Shareholder Coup Against Him
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg survived an attempt by shareholders to oust him as the company’s chairman.
Shareholders were able to vote on Zuckerberg’s leadership of the company during an annual meeting on Thursday, May 31, 2019.
Zuckerberg is Facebook’s CEO and chairman of its board of directors.
Although certain shareholders wanted the Facebook founder to step down, his control of 60% of voting power ensured that the only way he would lose is if he voted against himself.
Some investors encouraged him to step down because they believe this move would help him dedicate more time to running his company.
One group of investors, Trillium Asset Management, made the case for Zuckerberg’s departure as chairman. This group holds Facebook shares worth $7 million.
Jonas Kron, senior vice-president at Trillium, told the BBC prior to the vote that “If he can focus on being the CEO, and let somebody else focus on being independent board chair, that would be a much better situation.”
Kron said that Zuckerberg should follow in the footsteps of Google’s Larry Page and Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who are their respective company’s founders but not chairmen.
At the annual meeting, Zuckerberg refused to answer a question from a shareholder asking him why he would not appoint an independent chairman.
There were several groups of demonstrators outside this meeting. One side of demonstrators argued that Facebook did not protect minority groups. Another group of counter-demonstrators argued that Facebook “censored conservative voices.”
Reuters reported that some shareholders said Facebook was a “hostile work environment” for people holding conservative views. A group of shareholders have asked the company to produce a diversity report highlighting the company’s political views.
Alex Stamos, former security chief at Facebook, joined in the calls for Zuckerberg to step down as chief executive.
At the Collision Conference in Canada in May, Stamos contended that “There’s a legit[imate] argument that he has too much power.”
Zuckerberg defended his management of Facebook stating that “When you’re building something like Facebook, which is unprecedented in the world, there are things that you’re going to mess up.”
The social media magnate concluded:
What I think people should hold us accountable for is if we are learning from our mistakes.
Facebook has recently come under flack for its suspension of conservatives such as Paul Joseph Watson and Milo Yiannopoulos. Social media has made it clear that it is on the side of political correctness culture and will work to stamp out anyone who dares to challenge the status quo.
These purges are very likely only the beginning as the 2020 elections start to heat up.