On Monday Facebook held its Annual Shareholders Meeting, where the company re-elected Peter Thiel as one of its Board of Directors. The controversial board member received enough votes to stay back in the Facebook’s Board.
Facebook’s entire board was re-elected, where the new non-voting set of class C votes allows CEO Mark Zuckerberg to be the head as long as he is with the company. And all the other board members Sheryl Sandberg, Reed Hastings, Erskine Bowles, Susan Desmond-Hellmann M.D., Marc Andreessen, and Jan Koum are re-elected.
The Company also claims the approval of Dr. Priscilla Chan, wife of Zuckerberg to accelerate the company’s philanthropic activities. Mark also announced that he will be giving away 99% of his family shares to distinct initiatives for more equality. Mark in the meeting in a Q&A session claimed that he will be running Facebook “for a very long time,” despite philanthropic endeavors.
Investor Peter Thiel has been in the media for couple of weeks for backing former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against tech publication Gawker. A week ago Peter gave a speech praising Facebook’s impact on the humanization of technology. Facebook’s Chief operating office Sheryl Sandberg earlier this month said that the company would continue Peter as a board member as Peter’s actions are his own and don’t represent the company.
Bill Gates paid tribute to Zuckerberg in a pre-taped video which was shown at the annual meet. And as Thiel did not attend the Shareholders meeting, his tribute to Zuckerberg and company, a six-minute long speech last week says:
Facebook has put people back at the center of technology and the center of computers. This may sound banal and trivial today but this was certainly not the way people were talking about technology and Silicon Valley in 2000. It was about data, information, “organizing the world’s information”. It was about replacing and substituting humans with computer algorithms, automated directories of one sort of another, and I think this idea that computers would somehow replace people was the dominant theme in Silicon Valley if you had to talk about it 15 years ago. What Facebook has never been about replacing people or substituting computers for people but instead using computers to bring out the best in existing human relations and in this way bring people back to the center.”
As Zuckerberg retains majority control as a CEO of the company he had considerable influence on all the proposals of the company. And according to the few reports, all of the shareholder-submitted proposals were rejected, including those asking Facebook to do reports on gender pay equity, giving shareholders more say in the company, and sustainability.
Few other questions were posted to Zuckerberg in this event, which include whether Facebook would combine FB Messenger with Whatsapp? He denied and said that there’s “a lot of space for both to grow” and that they represent different “utilities and philosophies.” The bigger opportunity to go after is to provide the community with both tools than to combine both of them together.
And when the Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg was asked about the social network entering China she said, “We’re learning about and studying the Chinese market.” She also said that she has spent the past week in the country working with businesses there.