In a post on its newsroom blog, Facebook just announced that it has named long-time COO Sheryl Sandberg to its board of directors. Sandberg will be the eighth member of the board and its first female member to date. But what took so long?
Facebook has been criticized for a notable lack of racial and gender diversity on its all-male board. But even if the move intends to quiet those critical of the company’s record on diversity, Sandberg’s appointment is plenty well-deserved.
In 2008, the Harvard graduate left her post as Google’s vice president of global online sales and operations to work at Facebook. Since joining the company, Sandberg has risen to become one of its most prominent figures, both in the public eye and when it comes to keeping the company’s gears turning. Sandberg is often cited as one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley and is widely credited with setting Zuckerberg’s nascent social media experiment on its current path to explosive growth – and to its initial public offering in May. Facebook stock closed at $32.06 on Monday after falling three percent.
Sandberg’s omission from the board was certainly puzzling, as is the timing of today’s announcement. In a 2010 TED Talk, Sandberg famously issued a rallying cry to women in business, encouraging them to ascend to the high-ranking positions where the gender imbalance is the most glaring. “The men are reaching for opportunities more than women,” Sandberg explained. “We’ve got to get women to sit at the table.” Sandberg also sits on Disney’s board of directors and served on the board of directors for Starbucks from 2009 to 2011.
According to Zuckerberg, “Sheryl has been my partner in running Facebook and has been central to our growth and success over the years. Her understanding of our mission and long-term opportunity, and her experience both at Facebook and on public company boards, makes her a natural fit for our board.”
We’re happy to see Sandberg get her seat at the table.