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Published 07 March 2013 14:40, Updated 10 April 2013 07:40
Valuable insights ... New Facebook board member Susan Desmond-Hellmann brings “a great track record of building and managing a diverse set of organisations”, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says. Photo: University of California, San Francisco
Cancer researcher Susan Desmond-Hellmann has joined COO Sheryl Sandberg on Facebook’s board, becoming the company’s second female director.
Chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco, she is also on the board of Procter & Gamble.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Ms Desmond-Hellmann’s experience with public policy was a valuable asset.
“Sue has a great track record of building and managing a diverse set of organisations, so her insights will be valuable as we continue to expand into new areas,” Zuckerberg said in a statement.
“Her experience shaping public policy and operating public companies fits well with the rest of the board and will make us an even stronger company.”
A qualified clinician in internal medicine and medical oncology, Desmond-Hellmann previously spent 14 years at biotech group Genentech, where she was president of product development.
By some estimates, as much as two-thirds of Facebook’s user base is female, but board diversity has been an issue for the company in the past.
In May 2012, Bloomberg reported that Facebook had engaged executive recruitment group Spencer Stuart to help diversify its board in the run-up to its IPO, which took place in the same month.
In June 2012, Facebook appointed Sandberg to its board, four years after she joined the company.
Prior to the IPO, a number of groups lobbied Facebook to diversify its then all-male board.
In January this year, Sandberg spoke out on gender issues at the World Economic Forum in Davos, saying that as a woman becomes more successful, “she is less liked, and as a man becomes more successful, he is more liked”.