Wall Street seems inclined to unfriend Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. Shares in his newly minted public company dipped below $20 this week, barely half of May's initial public offering price of $38. At the time of the IPO, Facebook was anointed "the darling of Wall Street" following an opening day frenzy that valued Zuck's social network at well over $100 billion — good enough for the second largest IPO in U.S. history. But now, restless investors are calling for Zuckerberg to turn the company's reins over to someone with more leadership experience. Would Facebook be better served by a seasoned CEO?
It's time for Zuck to go: "Zuckerberg may be a visionary, but visionaries don't always make great CEOs," says David Futrelle at TIME. The hoodie-clad Harvard dropout has made no secret of his disdain for Wall Street, but "once a company goes public, the CEO has to at least pretend to care" what investors think. Stock price matters, and if Zuckerberg can't at least feign interest in dealing with the suits, "why not give that particular job to someone else?" He'll still have a controlling interest in the company for big decisions. "And he can keep wearing the hoodie."
"Is it time for Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to step aside as CEO?"
Plenty of past tech visionaries have stepped aside: "The masses need a hero," says John C. Abell at Reuters. "And that hero is not Mark Zuckerberg." Stepping down as CEO would let Facebook's founder focus on what he's actually good at: Strategy and vision. Remember when Microsoft's Bill Gates famously stepped aside to become chief research and strategy officer? That worked well. Ditto for Google's Larry Page (who stepped down from the CEO post at age 28, then reclaimed it in 2011 when he was 10 years more mature). For the sake of the company he founded in a dorm room, Zuckerberg should "get out of the line of fire and retreat to the lab."
"Facebook needs a new CEO"
Huh? Zuck should tell investors to shove it: Wall Street is throwing a "hissy fit," says Charles Cooper at CNET. What the Streeters fail to understand is that Zuckerberg has a long-term vision for Facebook and wants to build a business "that stands the test of time." The boy wonder is cut from the same cloth as stubborn visionaries like Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, who "continues to defy Wall Street and do what he knows is in the long-term interest of his company," like pouring money and resources into infrastructure despite investor objections — and look how Amazon is doing. Like Bezos, Zuckerberg is "a big boy and presumably has grown a thick enough skin to ignore the investing class' periodic tantrums. He's brought Facebook this far. No reason why he can't lead it to bigger things in the future."
"Why Facebook's CEO ought to tell Wall Street to Zuck off"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- Why insects are the future of food
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
Subscribe to the Week