In the midst of all the great news about the Facebook IPO, including the fact that Sheryl Sandberg has now become the richest self made woman ever, there was some bad news. Despite the fact that most of Facebook’s 800 million users are women, the company’s board has no women. Facebook will be listed on the 2020 Women on Boards Gender Diversity Directory as a Zero “Z” Company which is really depressing considering its COO Sheryl Sandberg is arguably one of the prominent figures in the fight for women’s rights. We knew she was fearless, but could she now be called hypocritical? Could she get in trouble for this lack of diversity at her company?
For a company that is so forward thinking in every other way, this shows a major disconnect according to Bloomberg’s Carol Hymowitz. Malli Gero, executive director of 2020 Women on Boards, said “It’s surprising and disappointing that Facebook has zero female directors because Sandberg is so powerful at the company and so outspoken in favor of women advancing.” Sandberg is arguably the face of Facebook if you will. Though Mark is better known, Sheryl does more speaking engagements and interviews on behalf of the company which is part of the reason she is getting more attention for this issue (and she is a woman.) She is also best-paid senior executive, receiving $30.9 million in compensation last year. She may own up to 1.7% of the company after the IPO, and at the top end of the valuation range expected for the offering, her stake may be worth $1.7 billion.
Sandberg is on a number of boards herself, including Walt Disney. She even recommended Katie Mitic for Ebay’s board when CEO John Donahoe asked for recommendations. It is surprising that this would happen at her company. Anne Mulcahy, former chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox Corp. and a director at Johnson & Johnson Co., Target Corp. and Washington Post Co., said as Facebook and other young companies mature, “they need to break out of this pattern and have more diverse representation.”
We know Sheryl has conquered the ambition gap she speaks of so often but we need to see other women doing it to.