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Facebook names a new board member: Erskine Bowles

Political, academic and business veteran joins the likes of Hastings, Thiel and Zuckerberg

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
September 7, 2011
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/1eab

Facebook announced Wednesday that it has added Erskine Bowles, most recently appointed as co-chair to President Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, to the company’s board of directors.

“Erskine has held important roles in government, academia and business which have given him insight into how to build organizations and navigate complex issues,” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. “Along with his experience founding companies, this will be very valuable as we continue building new things to help make the world more open and connected.”

Bowles is the seventh to join Facebook’s board of directors, whose other members are listed here:

  • Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder
  • Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz
  • Jim Breyer of Accel Partners (worth mentioning: Breyer just joined the News Corp. board)
  • Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company
  • Reed Hastings, CEO and chairman of Netflix
  • Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital and Founders Fund

Following two unsuccessful runs for a Senate seat in 2002 and 2004, Bowles moved on and served as the President of the University of North Carolina between 2005 and 2010. Before all that, the political veteran had served as White House Chief of Staff between 1996 and 1998, under President Bill Clinton.

Bowles also serves on the board of directors for Morgan Stanley, Cousins Properties Inc., Norfolk Southern Corp. and Belk Inc.

So what “complex issues” exactly does Zuckerberg hope Bowles can help Facebook navigate? Perhaps, as we estimated with Reed Hastings’ nomination to the board, it’s the issue of the initial public offering.

While Bowles may not have Hastings’ experience of taking a major technology company public, what he does have is a deep knowledge of investment banking, venture capital and private equity. All of that wisdom could come in handy once Facebook brings its IPO around, which may happen as early as this year. If not, analysts expect the public option to happen early next year.


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