Support for Mark Zuckerberg among Facebook’s shareholders is quickly diminishing, with shareholders overwhelmingly voting to oust the company founder.
The vote occurred at last week’s annual shareholder meeting at the Palo Alto Hotel, during which 68 per cent of shareholders who are not part of Facebook’s leadership team voted in favour of separating the roles of chairman and CEO.
This figure was up from 51 per cent last year.
The writing was literally on the wall for Zuckerberg, with non-profit group Fight for the Future projecting the message “Fire Mark Zuckerberg” in massive letters onto the side of the hotel ahead of the meeting.
The vote follows a tumultuous period for the social network, led by accusations of election meddling and the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal that broke last year.
Although the message from independent investors is now clear, whether Zuckerberg is actually removed from the role is another question.
Zuckerberg himself holds the majority voting share at Facebook.
Facebook’s existing structure divides shares into ‘class A’ shares, with one share counting for one vote, and ‘class B’, where one share equals ten votes.
Class B shares equate to around 70 per cent of the total vote and Zuckerberg and his inner circle own the majority of these more powerful shares.
Zuckerberg has around 58 per cent of the voting shares at Facebook.
This means Zuckerberg would most likely have to vote in favour of sacking himself as chairman in order for it to go ahead.
According to some, this lopsided structure makes events like these shareholder meetings futile.
“The sad reality is this ritual [the vote] is a sham,” said Fight for the Future (the group that projected the anti-Zuckerberg message on the hotel) in a statement.
“There is only one decision-maker who has control over everything Facebook does, and that’s Mark Zuckerberg.
“As the CEO and board chair, Zuckerberg on his own decides everything done at the company.”
As well as voting to remove Zuckerberg as chairman, 83.2 per cent of outside shareholders voted to remove the dual-class share structure.