Facebook taps Peggy Alford as first black female board member

If elected, Alford will be the board’s second person (former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault being the first) and first woman. Under a recently enacted California law, the company has to have a third female on its board by 2021.

Alford is currently senior vice president for Core Markets at PayPal, a position she took in March. Before that she was CFO for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization.

The vote will take place at the company’s stockholders meeting on May 30.

Erskine Bowles and Reed Hastings, who have both served on the board since 2011, will not be nominated for re-election at the 2019 annual meeting of stockholders.

The Hastings departure is no big surprise. Facebook has for a long time talked about extending its over-the-top video business, a strategic move that could put it in a more competitive posture with Hastings’s Netflix.

The nomination comes as a firestorm of criticism continues to swirl around Facebook on issues ranging from data privacy to hate speech to antitrust to diversity. According to the company’s 2018 diversity report, it made no year-over-year improvement in the percentage of black and hispanic people in both technical and leadership roles. Only 1% of technical roles, and 2% of leadership roles, were filled by black people. Women in technical roles improved from 15% to 22%, however, and women in leadership roles improved from 23% to 30%.

“What excites me about the opportunity to join Facebook’s board is the company’s drive and desire to face hard issues head-on while continuing to improve on the amazing connection experiences they have built over the years,” Alford said in a statement.

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Facebook’s current board members are: Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Andreessen (Andreessen Horowitz), Erskine Bowles (University of North Carolina, Kenneth Chenault (General Catalyst), Susan Desmond-Hellmann (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO), Peter Thiel (Founders Fund), and Jeffrey Zients (The Cranemere Group).

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