Facebook Faces Pressure To Diversify Its Board of DirectorsBy: Josh Wolford - April 5, 2012
If recent reports prove accurate, the biggest internet IPO in history is coming in May. We’re talking about Facebook, of course, and since the social media king filed its S-1 back at the beginning of February, the company’s public image has been a hot topic of conversation. The specific issue at the heart of the discussion:
Why is Facebook’s board so white and male?
As it stands, the board’s seven members are PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Washington Post Company CEO Donald Graham, venture capitalist and investor James Breyer, Mark Zuckerberg, Mosaic co-author Marc Andreessen, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and former UNC system President Erskine Bowles. No women, as you can see.
After it was brought to widespread public attention earlier this year, some activists have taken up the cause. They argue that it’s simply wrong for a supposedly modern and forward-looking company like Facebook to lack diversity in their boardroom.
That movement is gaining steam. A few days ago, a campaign that focuses specifically on Facebook’s lack of diversity on its board was launched. The campaign, called Face It, sports the tagline “Seven White Men: That’s Ridiculous.”
The campaign’s mission to to get the board more diversity – not just by adding women, but my mixing it up racially as well:
The FACE IT Campaign is led by young women and men across the world—from Australia to Europe to the United States to Argentina—with the help of community leaders and business professionals.
The reason is that Facebook has announced a $5 billion IPO—with a corporate board composed exclusively of white men.
We believe that this board of white men should include women of all colors. Because Facebook should go public with a board that reflects its own mission—to make the world more open and connected.
Simple as that.
According to Face It, diversifying the board would be good for business, good for Facebook, and good for society.
People that agree with their message can sign a petition, where they ask Facebook’s “top management structure to be less monolithic.”
While Face It takes a more broad diversification angle, another group is concerned on representing the ladies. Women’s group Ultraviolet says they want to expand women’s rights and combat sexism everywhere. They’ve also started their own petition where they ask Facebook to do one simple thing: Having women on boards is good business, especially when most of Facebook’s success is driven by women. I urge you to invite at least one woman to join the board before you go public.
“The fact that a company as large as Facebook with a massive global reach does not have a single woman on their board is nothing short of shameful. Facebook owes it success and makes a ton of money off of its women users. Women are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the sharing that happens on the site,” said Ultraviolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary. “In addition, women account for more than 70% daily fan activity on the site which is a huge source of revenue for the company. Facebook has a problem and they need to solve it before they go public. Mark Zuckerberg should live up to his company’s mission statement and appoint at least one woman to the board today.”
Facebook remains one of only 11% of Fortune 500 companies to have all-male boards. By putting a woman or a minority on its board, Facebook could send a strong message that they truly are forward looking. And they could be a leader, if they so choose – their public move could set an example for other companies and institutions to diversify.
Do you think it’s important for Facebook to mix it up a little bit on their board? Let us know in the comments.