Facebook has named its chief operating officer,as the company’s first female director to join the board that already includes seven men.
Sheryl Sandberg previously served as the Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google before joining Facebook. The social networking company has now promoted Sandberg to its all-male board amid criticism for the lack of diversity in the company, especially among the board members.
Since joining Facebook in 2008, Sandberg has been the most vocal member of the company on the issue of gender disparity in Silicon Valley and played a pivotal role in guiding Facebook in going public this May.
"Sheryl has been my partner in running Facebook and has been central to our growth and success over the years," Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, 28, said in a statement. "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."
Sandberg is one of the most prominent figures at Facebook with her profile being second only to reportedly told Zuckerberg that “We are disappointed that Facebook’s board will not have any women,” while noting that evidence has shown that boards perform better when there is more diversity involved.. Although big businesses like Facebook, hardly put an insider on the board, some speculate that Sandberg’s appointment may have arisen from a February letter by Anne Sheehan, director of Corporate Governance at the California State Teachers Retirement System in which she
Despite elevating Sandberg to a higher rank, scrutiny still surrounds the young company that boasts 1 billion users since 2004. Just a week before Sandberg’s promotion, Wall Street Journal published excerpts from a memoir of an early Facebook employee, Katherine Losse, who claimed being harassed multiple times at the hands of her male co-workers until Sandberg took notice.
The promotion did however, raised hopes for betterment. "We are optimistic Facebook is on its way to further expanding the board while simultaneously creating the diversity and independence we think is important to the future sustainability of this vibrant company," said Jack Ehnes, CEO of the CSTRS. But, he added, "We're not there yet."
Other Facebook board of directors include Mark Zuckerberg, Netflix founder Reed Hastings, Washington Post CEO Donald Graham, and VCs, James Breyer and Peter Thiel.