Facebook killed speculation that it is about to replace Mark Zuckerberg as chairman

ComparablyFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Facebook has killed speculation that Kenneth Chenault is about to become its first independent chairman.
  • Chenault, the former CEO of American Express, sparked the rumours after stepping down from the boards of IBM and Procter & Gamble, while retaining his board role at Facebook.
  • Facebook declined to comment initially, but later said he will serve the board in the “same capacity.”
  • It comes amid huge pressure from independent Facebook shareholders for the company to break up Mark Zuckerberg’s dual role as CEO and chairman.

Facebook has killed speculation that it is about to fire Mark Zuckerberg as chairman and replace him with US business grandee, Kenneth Chenault.

Chenault, the former chairman and CEO of American Express, stepped down from board positions at IBM and Procter & Gamble on Thursday, but retained his director role at Facebook.

The timing of the events, and the fact that Facebook is now Chenault’s only posting at a major US company, sparked speculation that he could be about to be installed as Facebook’s chairman.

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg’s spectacular failure of leadership shows why some Facebook investors are desperate to fire him

It comes amid huge pressure from independent Facebook shareholders, some with stakes worth billions, for the company to break up Zuckerberg’s dual role as CEO and chairman.

Investors believe this will help make Zuckerberg more accountable, following a disastrous year for the firm, which has been blighted by scandals including the giant Cambridge Analytica data breach.

Initially, Facebook did little to extinguish speculation that Chenault will become the firm’s first independent chairman by declining to comment on the matter. But later, the company stopped the rumours in their tracks.

A spokeswoman told reporters: “Ken will continue to serve on our board in the same capacity.” Business Insider has contacted Facebook for comment.

Chenault joined the Facebook board in January this year. At the time of his appointment, Zuckerberg said he had been trying to recruit him for years, adding that Facebook could learn much from his customer service expertise and experience in “building a trusted brand.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained a picture that Getty wrongly credited as Kenneth Chenault. We have since removed the picture.

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