Facebook said Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will become a director, adding the first woman to a seven-man board.
"Sheryl has been my partner in running Facebook and has been central to our growth and success over the years," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. "Her understanding of our mission and long-term opportunity, and her experience both at Facebook and on public-company boards makes her a natural fit for our board."
Facebook has been seeking to add directors, including at least one woman, who can add diversity, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. The world's largest social-networking service has drawn scrutiny for the lack of independent directors and gender diversity on its board, even as the majority of its 901 million users are women.
Mr. Zuckerberg picked existing directors as he sought advice in building the company he co-founded in a Harvard University dorm room in 2004. Aside from Zuckerberg, the board includes Donald Graham, CEO of Washington Post Co.; venture capitalist Mark Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape Communications Corp.; Jim Breyer, managing general partner of Accel Partners, an early investor in Facebook; Peter Thiel, a venture capitalist and the founder of hedge fund Clarium Capital; Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix; and Erskine Bowles, president emeritus of University of North Carolina.
Just 11.3% of the Fortune 500 had male-only boards last year, according to Catalyst, a New York-based nonprofit that researches women's progress in business.
Sandberg was hired as COO of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook in 2008 and is a director of Walt Disney Co. She built Facebook's revenue from $272 million in 2008 to $3.7 billion in 2011, of which $3.1 billion was advertising.
The California State Teachers' Retirement System, which manages $145 billion, asked Facebook in February to add a woman to its board, arguing that diversity improves governance and performance. A petition from the advocacy group Face It also urged Facebook to diversify its board to include women and minorities.-- Bloomberg News --