Facebook’s parent company, Meta, said Monday that Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist who helped supercharge the social network’s trajectory and later became a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, will leave the company’s board of directors later this year.
Meta said in a statement that Thiel had decided not to be re-elected to the board. The company did not give a reason.
Thiel has been on the board of directors for Facebook since 2005, a year after CEO Mark Zuckerberg co-founded the company, and he was among its earliest investors.
His influence over Facebook has included not only an early jolt of cash, but also serving as an intermediary to prominent Republicans — he attended a dinner meeting between Trump and Zuckerberg in 2019 — as well as his belief in monopolization as a business strategy.
In a statement, Zuckerberg said Thiel had taught him many lessons.
“Peter has been a valuable member of our board and I’m deeply grateful for everything he has done for our company — from believing in us when few others would, to teaching me so many lessons about business, economics, and the world,” Zuckerberg said.
“Peter is truly an original thinker you can bring your hardest problems and get unique suggestions.”
Thiel, in a statement released by Meta, called Zuckerberg “one of the great entrepreneurs of our time” whose “talents will serve Meta well as he leads the company into a new era.”
A spokesperson for Thiel did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment Monday.
Thiel addressed the Republican National Convention in 2016, making history by speaking about being gay while also serving as Trump’s most prominent backer from Silicon Valley.
But he also sometimes clashed with other Facebook board members, and his numerous other business interests as an investor in tech startups always threatened to create potential conflicts with Facebook’s own business.
In 2016, fellow Facebook board member and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told Thiel that his support for Trump showed “catastrophically bad judgment” as a director, according to The New York Times. (Hastings left the board in 2019.)
In 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported that Thiel advised Zuckerberg to continue Facebook’s policy of not fact-checking political advertisements from politicians, creating another flashpoint within the company.
More recently, Thiel has backed the Ohio Senate run of J.D. Vance, an author-turned venture capitalist who embraced much of Trump’s populism.
Thiel has been a prominent figure in the world of technology and startups for more than two decades, having worked with Elon Musk to build PayPal in the late 1990s before moving on to focus on investing. He has since invested in many successful companies including Palantir and, through Founders Fund, Airbnb, Spotify and SpaceX.
Meta said Thiel would continue to serve as a director until Meta’s next annual shareholders meeting. The date of this year’s meeting hasn’t been announced but the event typically happens in May.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Jason Abbruzzese contributed.
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