Clinton chief of staff Bowles joins Facebook board

Erskine Bowles, who served as President Clinton's White House chief of staff, is now a member of Facebook's board of directors, becoming the latest addition since Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Facebook has appointed Erskine Bowles to its board of directors, the social network announced today.

With him, Bowles is bringing serious political power to Facebook's board. In 1993, Bowles served President Bill Clinton as administrator of the Small Business Administration. In 1994, Clinton promoted him to deputy White House chief of staff before giving him White House chief of staff duties from 1996 through 1998. Most recently, Bowles served as the co-chair for President Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

All that political experience could come in handy for Facebook. As the company continues to grow, and its business becomes more complex, it has increased its ties with Washington. Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate lobbying database was updated to show that Facebook spent more than $350,000 on lobbying in 2010, and a record $230,000 during the first quarter of 2011. In the first quarter of 2010, the company spent just $41,390 on lobbying.

In a statement, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg celebrated Bowles' experience, and said that it could help the social network in many ways.

"Erskine has held important roles in government, academia, and business, which have given him insight into how to build organizations and navigate complex issues," said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. "Along with his experience founding companies, this will be very valuable as we continue building new things to help make the world more open and connected."

Bowles is by no means a stranger to boards. He currently holds board positions at Morgan Stanley, Cousins Properties, Norfolk Southern, and Belk.

Facebook's latest appointment comes just a few months after the company announced that it had added Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to its board. Both Bowles and Hastings join venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and Mark Zuckerberg, among others, on Facebook's board.