Sheryl Sandberg is Facebook's first female board member

A matter of weeks after Facebook's initial public offering, COO Sandberg joins the social network's board of directors.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
2 min read
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has been a leader in raising awareness of the struggles women in tech face. Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, has joined the social network's board of directors, becoming the first woman to do so, the company announced today.

"Sheryl has been my partner in running Facebook and has been central to our growth and success over the years," said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. "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 is working every day to make the world more open and connected," Sandberg said in the company's announcement. "It's a mission that I'm deeply passionate about, and I feel fortunate to be part of a company that is having such a profound impact in the world."

The announcement comes after criticism that Facebook's board lacked women and minorities. Two months ago, the company was called out for the board demographic makeup by a group called the FACE IT Campaign and earlier this year The California State Teachers' Retirement System made the same complaint. Zuckerberg had told The New Yorker last July when asked about why there were no women on the board that he was focused on finding "helpful" people and not concerned with gender.

Facebook became a publicly traded company in May, a hugely anticipated event marred by a stock price that quickly headed downward. She joined the company in March 2008, hired away from Google where she was a top ad sales executive.

Sandberg, who started her career as an economist with the World Bank and served as chief of staff for the U.S. Treasury Department in the Clinton administration, also sits on the boards of Disney, Women for Women International, the Center for Global Development, and V-Day.

Other Facebook board members are: Zuckerberg; Marc L. Andreessen, Andreessen Horowitz; Erskine B. Bowles, president emeritus, University of North Carolina system; James W. Breyer, Accel Partners; Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO, The Washington Post Company; Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO, Netflix; and Peter A. Thiel, Founders Fund.

Updated 2:27 p.m. PT with more details and criticism of board demographics.