Silicon Valley match: Andreessen joins Facebook board
Mark got his Marc. Facebook made it official this afternoon that Silicon Valley legend Marc Andreessen was joining the corporate board as its fourth member, confirming a report from Kara Swisher last month and another from Mike Arrington today.
Andreessen has long acted in the role of informal mentor to young Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg. No one could better know what the 24-year-old Zuckerberg has gone through and will go through than Andreessen, who started the Internet revolution when he co-founded Netscape at the age of 22.
Andreessen has the kind of entrepreneurial stature that surrounds him with the geek faithful and is sure to impress investors when in the next year or two Facebook finally tests the public markets. His influence is not confined to those who know what he achieved during the first Internet boom; He is a legend to those who have seen what he has already achieved during this one and to those who read his popular blog dispensing advice to those following in his footsteps.
Andreessen, who remains chairman of another social networking site, Ning, joins Zuckerberg and two Facebook investors -- Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital and Founders Fund and Jim Breyer of Accel Partners -- on the board. Andreessen, who is also an investor in Thiel's Founders Fund, takes over one of the two vacant board seats Zuckerberg controls. Facebook also has two board observers: David Sze of Greylock Partners and Paul Madera of Meritech Capital Partners.
Andreessen, who declined to comment, joins at a crucial moment for Facebook as it's bringing on new executives to help shepherd the next stage in its corporate evolution and biding farewell to others. With Matt Cohler leaving to pursue a career as a venture capitalist (although he will remain an advisor), Zuckerberg will have someone else at the company he can count on.
And it makes sense to us. Zuckerberg is like the 2.0 version of Andreessen. Who else would Zuckerberg want at his side than the founder-friendly Andreessen, who shares Zuckerberg's belief that Facebook is onto something big?
In a statement, Zuckerberg said: "Marc is an industry leader.... He has experience that is relevant to Facebook in so many ways: scaling companies that are experiencing extraordinary growth, creating successful technology platforms and building strong engineering organizations. I know Marc will be a great mentor to me and our leadership team."
-- Jessica Guynn
Photo by Randi Lynn Beach / For The Times