Facebook has taken on the role of senior independent board director with the former deputy finance minister and US ambassador to Germany, Robert M. Kimmitt. His role will be to act as an intermediary between the connection of the Facebook CEO and controlling shareholder Mark Zuckerberg to the rest of the board.
In the meantime, Cranemere Group Limited CEO Jeffrey D. Zients will not seek re-election to Facebook's board at the 2020 annual meeting, but will serve until then. Kimmitt replaces Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, who was the former senior independent director but left the board in October.
When Zients leaves, the only remaining independent directors besides Kimmitt will be longtime Zuckerberg loyalists and Facebook investors Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel. You, Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, will be the only board members who have been in use for more than a year.
“The senior independent director is an important role for us and we were looking for a manager. Who can bring significant supervisory and governance experience? ”Announced Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. “Bob has extensive experience in the areas of business, technology and public order at the highest level. He has held senior positions in the Treasury, State and Defense departments under several presidents, as US Ambassador to Germany and in the National Security Council. He was also the president of a public technology company in Silicon Valley, ”Zuckerberg wrote.
Before working at the US Treasury Department from 2005 to 2009, the 72-year-old Kimmitt was a member of the United States' Foreign Investment Committee, which watched Chinese Facebook competitor TikTok and how he acquired Musically has to become a giant in short form videos. The Vietnam combat veteran was a major general in the Army Reserve. During the Gulf War, he was also Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
In the private sector, Ambassador Kimmitt was Executive Vice President for Global Public Policy at Time Warner, President of Commerce One, partner at Wilmer Cutler & Pickering and managing director at Lehman Brothers. Today he is Senior International Counsel at the WilmerHale law firm.
"I am very excited to take this leadership role on Facebook's board as the company continues to improve the way technology and innovation can bring us together," said Kimmitt.
Kimmitt's appointment comes after several changes to the board recently. Kenneth Chenault left the board earlier this month after urging Facebook to do more to protect the elections because it refused to review political ads. Disagreements with Zuckerberg about political politics led to Chenault's exit.
In February, Zuckerberg's friend Drew Houston, the co-founder of Dropbox, joined the board, which felt like a friendly appointment. Former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, resigned in April 2019.
The board now consists of Zuckerberg, Kimmitt, Zients up to the annual meeting, Sandberg, Thiel, Andreessen, Houston, Peggy Alford from PayPal and Nancy from McKinsey Killefer and Estee Lauders Tracey T. Travis.
Fewer reviews of Zuckerberg's near-total power could make Facebook more efficient and critical, but less able to predict problems that those who are further from its rhetoric could predict.