Well, Facebook is no longer a boys’ club. It took CEO Mark Zuckerberg some years to recall Sheryl Sandberg’s job description, but on June 25th Facebook named its first female board member.
Not exactly breaking news within Facebook, but for the rest of the world looking at Facebook through the microscope, naming Sheryl Sandberg as a board member is pretty big. Sandberg has been No. 2 in Facebook for years now and after all that hard work she finally got her own seat in the board of directors.
In a statement issued Monday, Mark Zuckerberg describes Sheryl Sandberg’s effort with Facebook to have been essential. The CEO’s statement reads: “her understanding of our mission and long-term opportunity, and her experience both at Facebook and on public company boards, makes her a natural fit for our board”.
Sheryl Sandberg said: “I feel fortunate to be part of a company that is having such a profound impact in the world”. But as a COO, her job description already had most of the prerogatives a member of the board of directors has, given that Sandberg was overseeing everything within the company.
Whether or not Sandberg’s becoming a board member was Facebook’s way of putting an end to the scrutiny over its lack of female executives this woman just got a seat at the lead of one of the strongest companies in the world. Only a few months ago, Facebook was blasted by State Teacher’s Retirement System’s corporate governance director, Anne Sheehan, for not having a female executive. “We are disappointed that Facebook’s board will not have any women” she said.
But Zuckerberg might have had another reason to give Sandberg a seat in the board of directors after all these years. Sheryl Sandberg has a stock of 44 million restrictive Facebook shares, which are now worth $1.4 billion. And as media reports point out, Sandberg has been getting a lot of COO job offers.
Martha Josephson, Ego Zehnder International, said that Sandberg “has to be in the top 1% of desirable board members out there”. Cook Associates managing director John Barrett believes that if Sandberg’s goal “is to be CEO somewhere someday, this (board seat) certainly rounds her out”.