Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Menlo Park, CA, United States (4E) – The movement to oust Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as Chairman of the scandal-wracked social media giant is again on the front burner.
State treasurers from Illinois, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, have co-filed a proposal to remove Zuckerberg as Chairman following several high-profile scandals. They’re also working to gain backing from larger asset managers.
The New York City Pension funds owned about 4.5 million Facebook shares as of July 31. The Pennsylvania Treasury owned 38,737 shares while the Illinois Treasury owned 190,712 shares as of August. Rhode Island funds hold 168,230 Facebook shares.
Rhode Island State Treasurer Seth Magaziner said the latest proposal is still worth filing as a way of drawing attention to Facebook’s many scandals and how to solve them.
“This will allow us to force a conversation at the annual meeting, and from now until then in the court of public opinion,” said Magaziner.
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said in an while an independent chairman might not have prevented all the scandals that have hit Facebook, “there might have been fewer of these problems and less of a drop in share price” at the company.
In 2017, a similar shareholder proposal seeking an independent chair was defeated because of Zuckerberg’s majority control. Zuckerberg has about 60 percent voting rights. At least three of the four public funds supported the 2017 resolution.
The 2017 resolution received the support of a slim majority of outside investors. Magaziner and Frerichs said they planned to talk with more Facebook investors to ask their support.
The current proposal will be tabled at Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting in May 2019. It asks the board to appoint an independent board chairman to improve oversight, which is a common practice at other companies but not at Facebook.
The proposal points to controversies that have repeatedly sullied the reputation of Facebook, including the unauthorized sharing of user information; the proliferation of fake news, and Russian meddling in U.S. elections.
Article – All Rights Reserved.
Provided by FeedSyndicate