Doubts Intensify About Zuckerberg's Role as Facebook CEO

Leadership questioned as Facebook's stock continues to tumble

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is no longer on the list of top 10 tech billionaires, according to reports. His personal fortune dropped by a whopping $600 million on Thursday to $10.2 billion. Facebook’s stock traded in the red again Friday, closing just above $19 a share — down more than 4 percent that day and ending at little more than half its $38 valuation at its IPO in May.

The dismal performance has intensified doubts about Zuckerberg’s role as CEO, even as Zuckerberg himself addressed the problems in a companywide meeting Monday and acknowledged the stock problems were "painful." Here's what pundits and tech writers were saying about the social network: 

  • On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough said Facebook is in a desperate need of a new leader "that doesn’t wear a hoodie" to work. “I wonder when somebody is going to have the guts to go up to Zuckerberg and say you need to step down as CEO. This guy is a disaster CEO," Scarborough said.
  • Sam Hamadeh, head of research firm PrivCo, agrees that Zuckerberg should hand over the company’s reins to a more experienced executive. "There is a growing sense that Mark Zuckerberg, talented though he may be, is in over his hoodie as CEO of a multibillion-dollar public company," Hamadeh told the Los Angeles Times. "While in many cases a company founder can, and does, grow into the job, things are happening so quickly that there is precious little time here for Zuckerberg to do that."
  • But New York Magazine editor John Heilemann said Zuckerberg’s performance is reminiscent of Apple’s Steve Jobs and that it’s just too early to judge him. “He’s built an incredible thing but he may or may not be up to the job right now,” Heilemann said in an appearance on "Morning Joe" Friday. "But at that age Steve Jobs got kicked out of the board because people said the same thing about him and then he came back and became one of the great CEO’s of tech history."
  • Business Insider's Henry Blodget decided to tell Facebook employees "The Truth” about their stock price. Blodget said the “stock crash has nothing to do with the quality of Facebook as a company.” The stock is sinking, he said, because “investors are radically revising (downward) their outlook for Facebook's future financial performance and earnings.” But Blodget said Facebook’s stock is "still expensive relative to the current expected earnings growth for the company. At $20, the stock is trading at 31X next year's projected earnings per share of $0.65," higher than Apple and Google.
  • According to Yahoo’s Breakout finance blog, Facebook might go down in history as having the “worst IPO ever.” “There's no objective measure for 'worst IPO ever,' but Facebook is the standard to which all future stock offerings will be held," Jeff Macke writes. The stock is down 50 percent from its IPO price, but "money lost is what makes Facebook historically terrible." Breakout co-host Matt Nesto remarked, "$60 billion evaporated inside of 3 months — it's staggering."
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook’s stock crash is hurting employee morale and has caused Zuckerberg to finally acknowledge the problem. Although Zuckerberg admitted to employees that the stock’s performance was "painful" to watch, he added that the investments Facebook made in the last six months to a year could soon produce results.
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