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California pension fund complains about Facebook's all-male board

The California State Teachers' Retirement System urges Facebook to make an effort to expand its seven-member board of directors and include a more diverse set of candidates.

February 08, 2012|By Matt Stevens, Los Angeles Times

Less than a week after filing its initial public offering, Facebook Inc. is facing complaints from a powerful California pension fund about the makeup of its all-male board of directors.

The California State Teachers' Retirement System sent a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, raising concerns that the board named in the company's IPO filing does not have a wide spectrum of corporate experience, and is lacking gender and racial diversity.

"We want them to be cognizant of the fact the board is rather homogenous," CalSTRS spokesman Ricardo Duran said Tuesday. "As far as we could tell, it's mostly tech people, mostly friends of Mr. Zuckerberg, and we would like to see the company make a greater effort to expand the board and to include, in that expansion, a more diverse set of candidates.

"We feel that the more diverse a board, the more likely it is to maximize return for our members."

Facebook spokeswoman Vanessa Chan declined to comment.

The seven board members listed in Facebook's filing: Zuckerberg, Internet entrepreneur Marc L. Andreessen, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine B. Bowles, Washington Post Co. Chief Executive Donald E. Graham, Netflix Inc. Chief Executive Reed Hastings, and venture capitalists James W. Breyer and Peter A. Thiel.

According to the filing, all are already serving on the company's board.

Although CalSTRS is the second-largest public pension in the U.S. and largest teachers pension fund in the country, Duran said its Facebook holdings were "rather small," worth about $30 million as of June 30.

As of Dec. 31, CalSTRS total portfolio was valued at $144.8 billion.

Duran said CalSTRS expects to have a "much larger" holding once the IPO goes through. Duran said CalSTRS will wait to hear back from Zuckerberg and will probably send another letter in the future.

matthew.stevens@latimes.com

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