Mark Zuckerberg survives ‘coup attempt’

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg survives a coup attempt to make him step down as chairman.

During the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday, shareholders had the opportunity to vote on Mr Zuckerberg’s leadership.

He controls about 60% of the voting power and would only have lost if he voted against himself.

Some investors have called for him to step down as chairman as they believe this would help him focus on running the company.

One of those investors is Trillium Asset Management, which owns Facebook shares worth about $7m (£5.5m).

“If he can focus on being the CEO, and let somebody else focus on being independent board chair, that would be a much better situation,” Jonas Kron, senior vice-president at Trillium, told the BBC ahead of the vote.

He said Mr Zuckerberg could take inspiration from Google’s Larry Page and Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who are company founders but not chairman of the board.

Despite more than a year of privacy and data protection scandals, Facebook has exceeded estimates for revenue growth and continues to add new members.

At the annual general meeting, Mr Zuckerberg declined to answer a shareholder question about why he would not appoint an independent chairman of the board.

He repeated his view that regulators should set the rules around privacy and content for Facebook to follow.

A small number of demonstrators appeared outside the AGM, arguing that Facebook did not protect its users, particularly people from minority groups. Counter-demonstrators argued that Facebook “censored conservative voices”.

According to the Reuters news agency, some shareholders at the AGM said Facebook was a “hostile work environment” for people with conservative views. Some have asked the company to produce a diversity report reflecting its public policy positions.