Peter Thiel, one of the first investors of Facebook, will leave the board of Meta

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FacebookParent Meta Platforms Inc said Monday that billionaire investor Peter Thiel, an early investor who has been on the company’s board since 2005, has decided to step down. Thiel is aiming to spend time helping pick the candidates he believes will push former President Donald Trump’s agenda in America’s midterm elections, this year’s congressional elections, a person familiar with the situation said.

Thiel, co-founder of online payment system PayPal and a rare voice of conservative politics in Silicon Valley, became a Facebook investor in 2004, when he put up $500,000 in equity at a $5 million valuation for a 10% stake in the company. company and a seat in its directory. Thiel will serve as a director until Meta’s annual shareholder meeting, but will not stand for re-election, the social media giant said.

“Peter is truly an original thinker to whom you can bring your toughest problems and get unique insights,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg, thanking Thiel for his service. The announcement comes as shares of Meta have fallen sharply on concerns that privacy will change to Apple products were making it difficult for advertisers to see how their ads were performing on Facebook.

The stock fell 5.1% on Monday and has lost a third of its value this year, but is still worth more than $600 billion. Thiel left with kind words for Zuckerberg. “His talent will serve Meta well as he leads the company into a new era,” Thiel said in the statement announcing his departure from the board. He did not respond to a request for further comment.

Thiel plans in particular to help Blake Masters, a Republican candidate who hopes to unseat Democratic US Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, the person familiar with the situation said. He also endorsed JD Vance, author of the best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy” and a Republican candidate for Senate in Ohio, the person said.

In recent years, Thiel’s position on the board has been in the spotlight, given his conservative views, as the company has been mired in political controversies and backlash.

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