SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook will nominate prominent technology executive Peggy Alford for election to its board.
Alford would be the first African-American woman and second African-American to join the board of the social media giant. Her nomination at the company’s annual meeting on May 30 would mark a major step in diversifying its nine-member board.
Last year, Facebook named former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault to its board. The move came after years of pressure from the Congressional Black Caucusand civil rights leaders such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson to add black executives to its board as part of the company’s efforts to reverse decades-long patterns of exclusion in the high-tech industry, which mostly employs white and Asian men.
Erskine Bowles, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina, and Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO of Netflix, will not be nominated for re-election at the shareholder meeting, the company said. Both have served on the board since 2011.
Alford is being nominated to Facebook’s board at a particularly turbulent time in the company’s history as it faces intensifying scrutiny of its business practices after months of scandals.
“Peggy is one of those rare people who’s an expert across many different areas — from business management to finance operations to product development,” Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “I know she will have great ideas that help us address both the opportunities and challenges facing our company.”
In a statement on her nomination, Alford said she was excited by “the company’s drive and desire to face hard issues head-on while continuing to improve on the amazing connection experiences they have built over the years.”
Facebook had a deadline of 2021 to put a third woman on its board of directors. That’s when a new law in California to boost gender diversity in the boardroom begins requiring companies with six or more board members to have at least three female directors.
California is the first state to require that women be represented on corporate boards. Currently, Facebook has two women on its board: Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Susan D. Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.