According to Reuters, several public funds with hold shares in the website officially backed a proposal that would make the role of chairman an independent position, similar to tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Hedge fund Trillium Asset Management proposed a similar move back in June, but was ultimately voted down. At the time, Facebook insisted that an independent chairman “cause uncertainty, confusion, and inefficiency in board and management function and relations.”
On Wednesday, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer co-filed the proposal, along with state treasurers from Illinois, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. The proposal accuses Zuckerberg of mishandling company scandals, including massive security breaches and the spread of misinformation by extreme political groups.
“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,” Stinger said in a statement. “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 shareowners, and ultimately the hard-earned pensions of thousands of New York City workers. An independent board chair is essential to moving Facebook forward from this mess, and to reestablish trust with Americans and investors alike.”
Stinger oversees the New York City Pension Funds, which owned about 4.5 million Facebook shares as of July.
It’s unlikely that the proposal will ever get approved, as Zuckerberg has about 60 percent voting power as Facebook’s CEO. Many experts believe this is simply a symbolic move intended to put pressure on the company's co-founder.
According to Reuters, the latest proposal will be voted on during a shareholder meeting in May 2019.