Thiel to leave Meta board to support Trump agenda
- February 8, 2022
Thiel has been a vocal supporter of Donald Trump.
By Lizette Chapman and Kurt Wagner
Thiel, the tech investor and conservative provocateur
who has advised Mark Zuckerberg for nearly two decades
at Facebook parent Meta Platforms, will step down
from the companys board after Metas annual
shareholder meeting in May.
who joined the board in 2005 after an early investment
in Facebook, plans to increase his political support
of former President Donald Trumps agenda during
the 2022 election and doesnt want his political
activities to be a distraction for Facebook,
according to person close to Thiel.
thinks that the Republican Party can advance the Trump
agenda and he wants to do what he can to support that,
said the person, who was not authorised to speak publicly.
focus will be on supporting Blake Masters, JD Vance
and others who support the Trump agenda, he
added, referring to Republican candidates for US Senate.
He wanted to avoid being a distraction for Facebook.
helped elect Trump president in 2016 by donating money
and speaking on his behalf at the Republican National
Convention. When Trump became president, Thiel worked
on his transition team while nominating colleagues
to fill government positions, including former Thiel
Capital Chief of Staff Michael Kratsios, who served
as the CTO of the White House until last year. Thiel
has continued to support Trump while meeting with
members of the Republican Party and members of the
far-right in recent years.
departure will mark the end of one of the most productive
- and harshly criticised - partnerships between a
chief executive officer and an investor in all of
business. Thiel, who joined the board in 2005, has
been a close adviser to Zuckerberg ever since the
duo met through Napster co-founder Sean Parker, when
Facebook was still just a social network for college
campuses. Thiel was instrumental in shaping Zuckerbergs
ethos during the early days of Facebook and its relentless
pursuit of growth.
relationship continued even as Thiel became more and
more controversial in the technology industry, and
became a frequent target for Facebook critics and
also is a co-founder and chairman of Palantir, was
known to advise Zuckerberg on political issues. He
was among those reportedly encouraging the CEO not
to fact-check political advertisements in the run-up
to the 2020 presidential election, a move that many
believe benefitted Trump. He also joined a dinner
with Zuckerberg and Trump at the White House in 2019.
Facebook employees were upset with Thiels role
in backing Trump in 2016 given the former presidents
stance on immigration, and allegations of sexism and
racism against then-candidate Trump. But Zuckerberg
defended Thiel and his role on Facebooks board
in an internal post to employees in October 2016.
We cant create a culture that says it
cares about diversity and then excludes almost half
the country because they back a political candidate,
he wrote at the time.
a former student of Thiels who co-wrote Zero
to One with him, is running for the United States
Senate as a Republican from Arizona. Masters still
oversees Thiels personal investment vehicle
Thiel Capital and eponymous foundation.
who previously invested on behalf of Thiel, is running
for the US Senate as a Republican from Ohio who is
a conservative outsider. Vance is best
known for his 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy and is campaigning
on promises to abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives and push back against gun