Zients joined the Fb board in Could 2018 within the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal however declined to hunt reelection to the board when his time period led to 2020. Securities and Trade Fee filings present he was compensated with $100,000 in money and simply over $300,000 in inventory awards for his work chairing the board’s Audit & Danger Oversight Committee, which met 13 instances in 2019. Crucially, the final of his restricted inventory items have been vested in Could 2020, leaving him capable of fully liquidate his monetary ties to the corporate.
Zients’ departure from the Fb board was abrupt and got here amid rumors of a break up with the corporate’s administration. “Mr. Zients was typically aligned with Kenneth Chenault, [who] resigned from the corporate’s board following disagreements with founder and Chief Govt Mark Zuckerberg and different Fb officers,” wrote The Wall Avenue Journal on the time. “They differed over governance on the firm and its insurance policies round political discourse.”
Zients’ position because the incoming White Home’s COVID-19 coordinator doesn’t straight have an effect on Fb, however with the corporate going through unprecedented federal scrutiny and an impending antitrust motion from regulators, tech activist teams are significantly delicate to any connections between Fb and the Biden White Home. In September, a coalition of antitrust teams referred to as on the transition to forswear any Fb executives or registered lobbyists tied to the corporate from White Home appointments.
On Thursday, Accountable Tech co-founder Jesse Lehrich referred to as Zients a “gifted problem-solver” however mentioned Fb’s position in spreading anti-vaccine misinformation couldn’t be ignored.
“Fb have to be held accountable for amplifying misinformation that has undermined our pandemic response and sown baseless mistrust in vaccines,” Lehrich mentioned. “In an effort to guard towards conflicts of curiosity, Mr. Zients ought to instantly divest of the numerous fairness he earned in Fb from his service on the Board and decide to hiring a web based misinformation knowledgeable to deal with his staff’s engagement with main social media platforms.”
Zients beforehand served in a lot of financial coverage roles within the Obama administration — most notably, as director of the Nationwide Financial Council and performing director of the Workplace of Administration and Price range.