9 Feb. 2022
Scott Rosenberg, writing on Axios about the situation of Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, hanging to its position despite the current situation at Facebook, following the historic loss of $251 billion in market value in just one day:
Other CEOs facing such disasters have quit, or at least faced boardroom challenges or shareholder revolts. But Zuckerberg’s ownership of a class of shares with special voting rights gives him effective and absolute control over the company.
Reading this article I remembered that at the time of Bezos leaving his position last summer, I realised that Zuckerberg was one of the last founders still in a CEO position among the big tech companies.1
Maybe a new CEO is what Facebook needs, rather than a weird rebrand announcement and a blurry vision for the so-called metaverse? But what do I know? I just look at how it went for the other big tech companies. CEO-wise, Nadella is doing fantastic at Microsoft for example. One could say that Cook is doing quite alright at Apple too.
For comparison, Gates was Microsoft’s CEO for 25 years, and Zuckerberg has been CEO for what, 17, 18 years already?
Like Rosenberg says in his piece, entitled King Mark’s unshakeable reign, Silicon Valley loves founders:
The Valley embraced a “founders know best” ethos and began designing its most successful companies so that founders could keep the reins as long as they wished. […] Investing in these companies means betting on their leaders rather than actually owning a sliver of control over their destiny.
The tech industry’s rhetoric is all about empowering individuals and changing the future, but this governance model is positively medieval.
It is quite remarkable that after everything that went down at Facebook in the last couple of years — the rampant disinformation, the privacy scandals, a failed digital currency project, and the recent disastrous financial quarter to name just a few — Zuckerberg is still there.