Zuckerberg Wears a Hoodie, Sheryl Sandberg Wears the Pants
I have been one of the few people to support Zuckerberg before, during and after the IPO. Many months ago on Seeking Alpha and just last month on TheStreet I highlighted a move Zuckerberg made that shows a maturity that goes well beyond his years:
In fact, he made a move too few people give him credit for when he brought in a strong COO (Sheryl Sandberg) to mind parts of the ship he does not have the time or skills to deal with. She can keep Zuckerberg's long-term visions in check to ensure the near-term runs as smoothly as possible.
And now Facebook does something that, honestly, I thought it had already done. It puts Sandberg on its board of directors.
Sandberg is not just a pretty face. She's far from a pushover. In fact, she's a heavy hitter. She came to Facebook from Google(GOOG) where she was VP of Global Online Sales and Operations. Prior to Google, she was a Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of the Treasury. For goodness sakes, Sandberg made more than a quarter of a million dollars just to sit on the board at Starbucks(SBUX) .
Why hasn't the hysterical media ever asked the question, why did Zuckerberg bring in a strong and more-than-competent COO like Sandberg? Why didn't he just pull a Reed Hastings and refuse to bring in executives with the guts or ability to push back in any meaningful way? Do you really think Sandberg would take the COO gig at Facebook to be Mark Zuckerberg's "yes-woman?"
When the media yelps about Zuckerberg's power over the board and Facebook's "controlled company" status, it not only insults Zuckerberg, it insults Sandberg. And I will tell you this right now, the media rarely mentions Sandberg as a powerful figure in Facebook's organizational structure because she is a woman. Simple as that.
If Zuckerberg brought in a former Google VP and government official who happened to be a man, the media would paint a different picture. Instead of here and there, cutesy mentions of Sandberg as Zuckerberg's "right-hand woman," we might actually hear about what a shrewd move Zuckerberg made to bring in somebody capable of implementing checks and balances on his power and lofty vision.