Peter Thiel, American entrepreneur, venture capitalist and hedge fund manager.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Billionaire tech investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel will step down from the board of Facebook owner Meta, the company announced Monday.
Thiel, an early Facebook investor, is not running for re-election to the board at the company’s annual 2022 general meeting. He will continue to sit on the board until the annual meeting, the company said.
Thiel has been on the Facebook board since 2005. The company has since reached $ 1 trillion in market value and generated more than $ 117 billion in revenue in 2021.
Thiel invested $ 500,000 in thefacebook.com in 2004 and became the first significant external investor in the fast-growing social networking site that spread around university campuses. A year later, Zuckerberg renamed the company to Facebook.
Prior to the Facebook investment, Thiel earned his first fortune as a co-founder of PayPal. He then began investing, first through a hedge fund and then as a venture capitalist.
Since joining the board, Thiel has served as a mentor and close confidante to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Recently, Thiel has also caused controversy for the company due to his political ties to the Trump administration, donated to his campaign in 2016 and served as an adviser.
Thiel has been a controversial figure since his early days on the Facebook board. Venture capitalists who sit on the boards of tech companies typically hold most of their shares for at least a few quarters after listing to signal their continued confidence in the company, and then sell slowly after that. But Thiel started dumping right away and sold over a third of its shares in the IPO and another large share a few years later. He has been largely sold out since 2017.
He has also made worrying investments in other companies as a board member. For example, in 2019, he supported a start-up called Clearview AI, which scrapes Internet profiles to create a face recognition tool that can be used by law enforcement. Facebook asked the company to stop using its data.
Thiel was thrown out when he co-founded PayPal in 1998. Thiel served as the company’s CEO through its IPO in 2002 and its $ 1.5 billion sale to eBay later that year. He made headlines in 2016 when it was revealed that he had funded the high-profile lawsuit by wrestler Hulk Hogan against Gawker Media.
Thiel is also a co-founder and chairman of Palantir Technologies, and he is a co-founder of Founders Fund, Thiel Capital and Mithril Capital investment companies.
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CNBC’s Ari Levy and former CNBC reporter Salvador Rodriguez contributed to this report.