No one is ever going to be able to fire Mark Zuckerberg, but he does have a few new bosses. Shareholders are disappointed with the performance of Zuckerberg’s company, Facebook, which has seen its price cut in half since the IPO just a few weeks ago. At the same time that Apple computer set a record by being the highest valued company in American history, Facebook is hitting all-time low.
Facebook stock was trading at $18.75 earlier this week after being released at $38 per share.
Investors are now turning their angry cross-hairs at 28-year old Zuckerberg for the poor performance. The company now has 900 million users and $3.7 billion in revenue, including a profit of a whopping $1 billion this year. Some might say that’s pretty good for a project that started off in your dorm room.
But some are going after Zuckerberg for his apparent lack of maturity. They claim that he is unable to navigate the corporate world, a place where most CEOs don’t wear hoodies every day.
“He is a brilliant guy. He is the visionary behind this company. But … what he is not is CEO material,” Newsweek columnist Joanne Lipman told CNN this week.
Some are saying that Mark is not the right guy to lead Facebook and that he is certainly not the person to be the face of the company. Other critics are saying that, at least for now, Mark needs to help ease the concerns that investors have about the future of the company.
“It’s his responsibility; it is his obligation to deal with investors,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities. “I’m not sure he cares enough, and I think the management is going to do what the CEO tells them to do.”
Zuckerberg appears to be counter to America’s capitalist culture, as he is focused on the quality of his product and his social mission more than money.
“We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services,” said Zuckerberg in a letter to investors.
The company has been criticized by investors because it has been slow to introduce new products. This leads to calls for greater corporate transparency and people accuse Zuckerberg of not communicating very well with his investors. The fact is that he might just be a 28-year old kid who doesn’t give a damn.
“Investors don’t know how to think about Facebook, most likely because they don’t use it,” said Brian Solis, an analyst at Altimeter Group.
This week, even Peter Thiel, one of the initial investors in the company, sold a big chunk of his shares of the company. Thiel was taken to the cleaners by the price decline, but his $500,000 investment in Facebook back in 2004 has made him into a billionaire.
Zuckerberg also faces the prospect that as soon as his employees are able to unload their shares, the price will drop even further. It’s hard to tell if any of this matters to a young guy with several billion dollars in the bank.