back to article Facebook investors yell at CEO: Get the Zuck out of our boardroom!

An activist shareholder proposal is calling for Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to give up his position as chairman of the board. The proposal [PDF], floated by online advocacy group SumOfUs and backed by a group of Facebook shareholders, requires Zuck to cede the position atop Facebook's board of directors to an …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Ah.. activist investors strike again.... boils down to "give us the money and when we bleed the company dry, we'll break it up and sell it off".

    Ok.. that might be good for FB like maybe "good riddance", but not for a lot of other companies.

    1. Youngone

      >"give us the money and when we bleed the company dry, we'll break it up and sell it off".

      That is certainly one thing to hope for.

      It's hard to know who to cheer for really, awful, greedy bastards who want to drive the company into the ground in the quest for maximum profits, or Mark Zuckerburg.

      I'm on the horns of a dilemma.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      > activist investors

      Actually called "investors" as opposed to the guys who just dump money into a bowl and hope to get multiples out of it soonish before it all collapses again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Good practice

        In parts of the world where corporate gods are less revered, it's actually considered to be bad corporate governance for the roles of chairman and CEO to be combined - the CEO is meant to be the hired help running the company on behalf of the shareholders, the chairman represents those shareholders.

        1. paulf Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Good practice

          @ Credas, Good practice: "the CEO is meant to be the hired help running the company on behalf of the shareholders, the chairman represents those shareholders."

          To put it another way, while the CEO is busy running the company the Chairman has only one job: to fire the CEO if (s)he fucks it up.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good practice

          You said the magic word "hired help." What you described is not the case at FB. The Zuck is the founder, and creator of the business and the chairman of their board. It's still his company, he wasn't hired by the board, he made it. When/if these so-called "activist investors" AKA "asshole investors" can do anything about that situation will be after Zuck decides on his own to leave. And you would need a hell of a lot of motivation from the staff before he would consider stepping down, not because a couple of assholes with money to burn think otherwise. Investors are fucking lemmings. They don't create business ideas or products, then are just the parasites playing the "growth over all other things" game. Gimme, gimme, gimme!

          Playing to Wall Street is what got IBM all fucked up. It's not a game you can ever win and hope to woo consumers at the same time.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good practice

            The Zuck is the founder, and creator of the business and the chairman of their board. It's still his company, he wasn't hired by the board, he made it.

            When he's sold out 72% of the shares it's long since ceased to be his business, whether he founded it or not. It's precisely this sort of conflict, reinforced by the fundamentally corrupt use of different voting- and non-voting share classes to enable him to retain control, that makes it essential for shareholders as a whole to be represented by an independent chairman.

            TL;DR version: you shouldn't expect to sell the company and continue to run it however you want.

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

              Re: Good practice

              Exactly. Founder or not, after the IPO (unless you control 50% + at least one share) you're an employee. And employees can be fired. Ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Good practice

                It's not a requirement to control 50% + 1 share to control a company. Unless you have made a very large faux pas, chances are good that a large number of other shareholders (especially ones that have made lots of money on the stock) are going to vote your way. In addition, not all stock is the same. A certain amount of the right class of stock will secure your position.

                FB is a massive scheme. Just like a magazine's business is delivering people to the advertisers and not to promote the subject that they cover, FB's business is selling subscribers information. Given that they are also tracking your browsing habits too whether you want them to or not, just signing up is a dangerous thing to do. There may come a time when they cross a certain line and people finally realize that giving up their privacy was a very stupid thing to do.

    3. AndyS

      Yes, I think in this case you're right. The interests of the largest shareholders (who will be in for the long haul) and smaller ones (who can come and go more easily) _should_ be aligned, but if they are not, it is likely that the larger shareholders have the interest of the company at heart, while the smaller ones only the short term profit.

  2. benderama

    The last thing you want to do is show Zuckerberg you know how to kick him out of his company.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zuk will respond....

    By asking his home AI for advice... Then he'll just increase his personal security and ignore pleb investors cries altogether.... So more of the same really, and how he usually washes over EFF / Epic / FTC lawsuits etc...

  4. Faux Science Slayer

    Monopolists Rule !

    We live in a false paradigm reality bounded by faux science, fake history, filtered news, Financed by a fiat currency and directed by monopolist Demonic Warlords. Zucky, Musk, Bevo, Gates and more are front companies.

    Alex Bell did not invent telephone, Edison did not invent the electric light and Marconi did not invent radio. Until SCOTUS ruling in 1943, the Wright Brothers did not invent powered flight. To give extent of monopolist treachery....

    "Titanic, the First Staged 9/11" on YouTube.... J P Morgan insurance fraud !

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Monopolists Rule !

      Unfortunately for you, the plural of "anecdote" is not "data".

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Monopolists Rule !

      "Alex Bell did not invent telephone, Edison did not invent the electric light and Marconi did not invent radio. Until SCOTUS ruling in 1943, the Wright Brothers did not invent powered flight."

      Heavens! FSS is right... it had to happen sometime...

    3. ToddRundgrensUtopia

      Re: Monopolists Rule !

      Edison didn't invent the electric light bulb, he mass produced it. I think Swan from Newcastle-upon-Tyne invented it.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Monopolists Rule !

        Edison conceived a major breakthrough - carbon filaments - which made lightbulbs practical. Thus commercially successful. Platinum filaments were much less reliable and had, ahem, somewhat higher cost.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Monopolists Rule !

          Um, the Brit guy (Swan?) had carbon filaments also; his just didn't last as long because Edison had access to better vacuum technology. It was largely an execution thing.

          1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

            Re: Monopolists Rule !

            Thanks, did not know that. Also, platinum filament was older than I thought - Sir Humphry Davy used it in 1802.

            From the wiki:

            "In addressing the question of who invented the incandescent lamp, historians Robert Friedel and Paul Israel[8] list 22 inventors of incandescent lamps prior to Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison. They conclude that Edison's version was able to outstrip the others because of a combination of three factors: an effective incandescent material, a higher vacuum than others were able to achieve (by use of the Sprengel pump) and a high resistance that made power distribution from a centralized source economically viable."

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incandescent_light_bulb

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Monopolists Rule !

              It's more correct to say that Edison perfected a practical light bulb. That's good enough to secure a place in the history books. Elon Musk didn't invent the electric car (he didn't even found the company) he just shoved a massive pile of batteries on one and convinced people with money to bang down a modest home's worth of money to buy one. Right now, people think that Tesla is the leader in electric car technology even though they haven't made any money producing cars (the little bit of profit they made one quarter was from selling tax credits). Time moves on and the winners write the history books.

    4. annodomini2

      Re: Monopolists Rule !

      Careful FSS you're becoming almost comprehensible in your posts, wouldn't want to tarnish that image.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Sadly unlikely to end in the way that it did for Conrad Black of "Torygraph" fame

    "Blackie" was stripped of his Lordship and sent to jail.

    He famously referred to minority shareholders as "terrorists"

    The truth is it's usually the Board you should be worried about.

    These characters seem to only hold large share blocks due to generous (sometimes obscenely generous) compensation packages then proceed to line their pockets further while the company turns to s**t.

  6. Gigabob

    SumOfUs are not Activist Investors

    "SumOfUs" petitions to save whales, Bees, and spotted owl, and is not what I would call real activist investors who own sizable portions of a stock and have voting power in a potential proxy war.

    While the conflict of interest is obvious - in business, this sort of conflict of interest is in the overall companies best interest since as Chairman and CEO Zuck's fortune and future are tied to FB.

    If "SumofUs" is serious about damaging conflict of interest, they should focus on the White House where person business interests will collide with societal goods.

  7. DCFusor Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Zuck?

    I don't care about what happens to him as long as it involves fire, piano wire, guillotine blades...someone else will just take his place, after all.

    While some of the above sentiment about shareholders is in fact true - when you really examine the entire circle, the driver of bad corporate "it's all about the money" behavior is a combination of the top people being paid in stock/options/bonuses, and sad to say, grandma's retirement fund manager. Make money, or we sell your stock, it goes down, you don't get paid. Don't go for the bucks and grandma is lucky to eat cat food. We have no one else to blame, we set up and tolerate that system.

    As far as Autodesk is concerned, I'm surprised no one here has mentioned that they had bought the Eagle PCB design software, and just recently gone to a "fsck you, pay me on subscription" model or you can't use the formerly free software. Which angered 100% of the people using it, all engineers. Autdoesk's entire customer base has the job title engineer. You take it from there. I'd fire the guy who backed that. So much goodwill shot in a single stroke.

  8. cryptarium

    Stupidity! The other board members and investors need to put the activist investors in their place.

    This would be idiotic to do this. The activist investors need to be put in their place by the other investors. Without Zuck, the company starts slowly sinking (initially) then it just capsizes. The other investors and board members need to step up NOW before it's too late!!! Remember when this same thing started with Steve Jobs? Perhaps the activist investors need to be removed from the board.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Stupidity! ...

      "Without Zuck, the company starts slowly sinking (initially) then it just capsizes. "

      You say this as if it's a bad thing.

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