Shareholders poke Zuckerberg over share price

The Facebook founder faced his first shareholder meeting yesterday, and with share prices having slipped 37% since its IPO, investors didn't give him an easy time.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 19 Jul 2013
Usually when Mark Zuckerberg gets onstage, it’s to rapturous applause from his legions of fanboys. Yesterday, though, the audience he faced was an altogether different kind of beast: the Facebook founder was grilled by investors at the social networking site’s first-ever shareholder meeting.

Before he embarked on a question-and-answer session with shareholders, Zuckerberg noted that many of the pre-submitted questions focused on how badly Facebook’s stock had performed. Which is understandable: since Facebook made its stock market debut last year, its share price has slipped by 37%, from $38 a share.

Now, Zuck isn’t the most emotionally demonstrative speaker, so we’re not sure whether he was genuinely unphased, or whether that’s just his face. But he seemed calm when he said that Facebook had taken a long view, and that nothing ‘has made me really think that the fundamental strategy is wrong or that what we’re building isn’t valuable’.

Steadily falling stock prices are bound to raise questions about Zuckerberg’s leadership, though. Having started the company in 2004, he’s been at the helm for nearly 10 years, and at just 29, he’s very young to be heading a multi-national company.

If he did decide to take a step back, it wouldn’t be unusual – in the past, the founders of both Yahoo and Google have yielded to more experienced leaders as their companies have grown. Although given Zuckerberg’s notoriously stubborn nature, that might not be an option.

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