Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg told lawmakers from the Congressional Black Caucus that the company would be adding an African-American to its board of directors. In a closed-door meeting on Thursday (Oct. 12), part of her tour of Washington DC as Facebook is under scrutiny for its role in Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Sandberg told the politicians that the company has a specific person in mind, but did not reveal their identity or a timeline, The Wall Street Journal reported (paywall).
Facebook’s current board is far from diverse: it counts eight members, all of them white, and mostly top players in Silicon Valley, worth billions of dollars. There are only two women, including Sandberg.
Overall, women constitute only 35% of Facebook’s workforce, blacks 3% and Hispanics 5%, the company said earlier this year, touting modest increases from years past. This year, the company also introduced a requirement that the outside law firms it hires employ at least 33% women and minorities. Among Fortune 500 companies, white women made up 16.4% board members in 2016, and minority women 3.8%. More than 10% of board members were minority men.
Here’s how Facebook’s board currently stacks up:
- Mark Zuckerberg, 33. The company’s founder, chairman and CEO, Harvard University’s second richest dropout.
- Sheryl Sandberg, 48, board member since 2012. Chief operating officer, formerly an executive at Google, and chief of staff at the US Treasury Department under her mentor Larry Summers. Author of the bestselling “Lean In,” a book on women’s empowerment in the workplace.
- Marc Andreessen, 46, board member since 2008. Venture capitalist, co-founder of Netscape, the famous early web browser. Seed investor in Facebook. Described by The New Yorker in 2015 as “the quintessential Silicon Valley venture capitalist: an imposing, fortyish, long-celebrated white man.”
- Peter Thiel, 50, board member since 2005. Venture capitalist, chairman of software company Palantir, co-founder of online payment system PayPal, Facebook’s first outside investor. An outspoken supporter of Donald Trump, known for bankrolling the takedown of gossip and news site “Gawker.”
- Susan Desmond-Hellmann, 60, board member since 2013. CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, a scientist who worked on cancer drug development, and physician.
- Reed Hastings, 57, board member since 2011. Co-founder of Netflix and Pure Software, called “pathologically modest” by GQ in 2013.
- Erskine Bowles, 72, board member since 2011. Partner, adviser, board member for multiple companies, former president of the University of North Carolina, and chief of staff in the Clinton White House.
- Jan Koum, 41. Founder of WhatsApp, who sold the hugely popular messaging app to Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion. That’s when he joined the board as well. Known for his rags-to-riches story, which starts with a childhood in Ukraine and teenage years on food stamps.