Facebook has added a second woman to its board of directors. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has been elected to the board, the social networking giant announced.
Before becoming chancellor of UCSF, Desmond-Hellmann worked at biotechnology giant Genentech for 14 years, most recently as president of product development. She is also on the board of directors for multinational consumer goods company Procter & Gamble.
The social networking giant’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, was the first woman to join the board in June 2012. Her appointment to the board came about after Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, received a letter in February 2012 from investor CalSTRS criticising the board’s lack of diversity.
“We are disappointed the Facebook board will not have any women members,” CalSTRS director of corporate governance, Anne Sheehan, wrote in the letter.
“This is particularly glaring in view of the fact that Facebook is going public at a time when there is clear evidence that companies with diverse boards perform far better than the companies with more homogenous boards.
“We believe investors and the company would benefit from a larger, more diverse board and urge you to expand its size.”
CIO of Suncorp Life, Fiona Floyd, also commented on this last year, saying that the IT industry, along with other industries, still have a long way to go in becoming more gender balanced.
“Just think about Facebook and the global campaign that was undertaken in order to get Facebook to put a female onto their board," Floyd said.
"Most of us think of Facebook as a modern, contemporary, young organisation and yet it took pressure around the world for them to do that. However, what’s encouraging is there is more awareness and interest in this topic than there ever has been before and that makes me very optimistic for the future.”
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