Ann Winblad: Too many VCs on Facebook boardAugust 21, 2012: 1:12 PM ET
Should Zuckerberg make a change?
FORTUNE -- Veteran venture capitalist Ann Winblad appeared on CNBC this afternoon, to comment on Peter Thiel's decision to sell approximately 20.1 million shares of Facebook (FB) stock last week.
Her two main points were:
- 1. There was nothing wrong with Thiel selling his shares, since the job of a venture capitalist is to generate returns.
- 2. Facebook should soon consider replacing Thiel as a board member. Not because of his share sale, but because venture capitalists "should not be long-term board members of public companies."
As for number one, she's absolutely correct from 10k feet. In fact, it's a similar point to one I made yesterday about Marc Andreessen selling shares of Groupon stock. But I'd also add that most of the shares Thiel sold were personal, rather than through funds that have outside investors. As such, there is a good case that he should have put the good of Facebook (where he is a board member) ahead of his personal bank account.
Of course, that latter problem could have been resolved by Facebook adopting Winblad's second point. But I'm not expecting it. Maybe Thiel will bounce soon, but my guess is that both Jim Breyer and Marc Andreessen are in it for the long haul. Not only because both of their funds still maintain boatloads of Facebook stock, but also because they each have a habit of sitting on the boards of large public companies. For Breyer, that means Wal-Mart (WMT), Dell Inc. (DELL) and News Corp. For Andreessen, it's Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and eBay (EBAY).
Here's the full video of Winblad's comments: