Even Facebook’s investors are fed up with Mark Zuckerberg.
Pension funds on Tuesday called for the 35-year-old tech tycoon to be replaced as chairman of the social network by an independent director, citing a shareholder vote last week that revealed strong support for the idea.
In a tally of votes from Facebook’s annual meeting that was released late Monday, 68% of the company’s investors — apart from Zuckerberg and a small coterie of like-minded insiders — backed a proposal to strip Zuckerberg of his chairman role, up from 51% a year earlier.
Likewise, more than 80% voted to eliminate the class of shares — held by Zuckerberg — that carry 10 times the voting power of regular shares.
Those voting shares have enabled the Silicon Valley wunderkind and his cronies to effectively control the company with a 58% voting stake, even as he comes under pressure from investors over data privacy and Facebook’s role in US elections, which have attracted scrutiny from regulators.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who oversees a city pension fund that holds Facebook shares, on Tuesday repeated a call to remove Zuckerberg as chairman.
“The company is depending entirely on one person, who is accountable to no one, to run the day-to-day and conduct oversight of the company’s ever-expanding operation, which demonstrates a lack of basic business sense and keeps the company in a constant state of turmoil,” Stringer said in a statement.
“Facebook’s insular boardroom must be cracked open because the company has no accountability to its users, its investors, or our democracy,” he added.
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Nearly three quarters of investors voted in favor of an annual review of the CEO’s pay. Zuckerberg’s majority, however, ensured that Facebook investors will only get a vote on his compensation every three years.
Zuckerberg, whose net worth is $64.5 billion, was paid $1 in salary last year plus $22.6 million in other compensation, largely for security.
Zuckerberg’s stewardship of Facebook has been under intense scrutiny ever since March last year, when the Cambridge Analytica scandal kicked off a cascade of privacy-related fiascoes.
The Menlo Park, Calif., company is gearing up to pay $3 billion to $5 billion to settle a looming Federal Trade Commission privacy probe. Facebook already has set aside $3 billion toward the potential settlement last quarter, the firm said.
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