State treasurers from Illinois, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania, which oversee pension funds, and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer have filed the proposal, which is similar to a failed 2017 attempt to remove Zuckerberg from his leadership position, Reuters reported.
Rhode Island State Treasurer Seth Magaziner said that the proposal was still worth filing, although the 2017 attempt to remove Zuckerberg ended up being a mostly symbolic challenge, as a way of drawing attention to Facebook’s problems and how to solve them. The 2017 resolution was supported by at least three of the same public funds backing the latest proposal.
“This will allow us to force a conversation at the annual meeting, and from now until then in the court of public opinion,” Magaziner said.
The current proposal, which aims to influence Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting in May 2019, asks the board to create an independent board chair to oversee Facebook’s activities and improve shareholder oversight – a common practice at other companies.
Such an independent chair may not have prevented the scandals that have plagued Facebook, yet “there might have been fewer of these problems and less of a drop in share price,” Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said.
The 2017 resolution, which also called for the establishment of an independent chair, received support from the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund and Fidelity Contrafund – Facebook’s largest investors. But Facebook countered at the time that an independent chair could “cause uncertainty, confusion, and inefficiency in board and management function and relations.”
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the proposal.