Facebook shareholders are backing a plan to remove Mark Zuckerberg as Chief Executive Officer of the company. The move comes after a series of scandals rocked the company. According to Reuters, some shareholders feel that the scandals have been mishandled, and they advocate for replacing the 34-year-old executive.
The proposal likely won’t result in Zuckerberg’s removal as Facebook CEO, since he holds control of the board with 60 percent of voting power, but it indicates the level of concern that some people have about the management of the company.
“Facebook plays an outsized role in our society and our economy. They have a social and financial responsibility to be transparent – that’s why we’re demanding independence and accountability in the company’s boardroom,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said.
Along with Stringer, state treasurers from Illinois, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania support the proposal, which was originally suggested by hedge fund Trillium Asset Management in June of this year.
“We need Facebook’s insular boardroom to make a serious commitment to addressing real risks — reputational, regulatory, and the risk to our democracy — that impact the company, its share owners, and ultimately the hard-earned pensions of thousands of New York City workers,” Stringer said.
New York City owns 4.5 million shares in the company, and Stringer oversees New York City’s $160 billion pension fund.
“An independent board chair is essential to moving Facebook forward from this mess, and to reestablish trust with Americans and investors alike,” he added.
The proposal will be voted on in May 2019 during the company’s annual shareholder meeting. At that time, investors plan to ask that Zuckerberg’s role as chair be made an independent position.
The move comes after a series of scandals that have harmed Facebook’s reputation, including Russia interference in the United State’s elections in 2016. The company was criticized for its slow response to fake and Russian-linked accounts that were involved in spreading misinformation and organizing political events in the U.S.
Since the scandal broke, Facebook has made an effort to remove Russian accounts and has warned users that there will likely be attempts to meddle in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.
Facebook was also criticized for its handling of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal in early 2018. According to reports, a political data firm called Cambridge Analytica, which was used by the Trump campaign, used Facebook to access the data of over 50 million users. The firm used that data to analyze and influence voter behavior in the 2016 election.