Reps. Watson Coleman, Kelly, and Cleaver Release Statement on Kenneth Chenault’s appointment to Facebook’s Board of Directors

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Washington, D.C., January 18, 2018 | Kirsten Allen - 202-510-4361 | comments

U.S. Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Robin Kelly (IL-02), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05) released these statements regarding Kenneth Chenault’s appointment to Facebook’s Board of Directors:

“Kenneth Chenault’s business acumen and record of success is clear, and I am pleased he will bring that experience to Facebook. Mr. Chenault appointment demonstrates that companies like Facebook do not need to sacrifice diversity for quality at their highest and most consequential leadership ranks. As this industry takes additional steps to diversify their leadership, I strongly encourage them to look outside the box for dynamic talent and emerging leaders, not simply safe picks that have already ascended to the highest echelons of business success. Nonetheless,  I do look forward to working with Mr. Chenault and the entire leadership at Facebook to address the concerns that Representatives Kelly, Cleaver and I laid out in our letter last year. We must ensure that our social media and tech leaders are operating responsibly on behalf of their users and the communities that we represent,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).

“I’m pleased to see Facebook taking real action to address the issue of diversity within their company. America’s diversity is her strength and our strongest industries should reflect that fact. Kenneth Chenault is a proven leader with tremendous knowledge and experience.  When we began this dialogue with Facebook, we expected swift action and this decision is without a doubt a step in the right direction,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL). “Much work still remains to diversify Silicon Valley.  Progress has been slow and we will continue to press companies to enact inclusive hiring policies. I remain committed to working with tech leadership to attain this goal.”

“There are a significant number of qualified minorities who are more than capable to be among the leadership of companies such as Facebook…a social medium that is used by all races, colors, and creeds. I am pleased to hear that Facebook has not only acknowledged the lack of diversity within its company but they listened to our concerns and chose a new direction for the future,” said Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO).  


In September, Representatives Kelly, Cleaver and Watson Coleman sent multiple letters to Facebook’s CEO concerning discrimination on the platform, especially its advertising services. Following these letters, Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, met with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on several issues and promised the appointment of an African American to Facebook’s Board of Director.

Since, Representatives Kelly, Cleaver and Watson Coleman have been in regular and productive communication with Facebook as the company works to address an array of concerns raised by these Members and others in the CBC.  

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