Peter Thiel will step down from his position at Meta’s board to focus instead on helping political candidates, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Monday (Feb. 7).
Thiel was one of Facebook’s earliest investors and has been the longest-serving board member. Per the report, he was also the first outside investor in 2004, acquiring a stake for $500,000 at the time — which has since earned him hundreds of millions of dollars.
He now plans to put more effort into helping Republican candidates supporting former President Donald Trump’s agenda for the 2022 midterms, the WSJ reported, citing an unnamed source.
Thiel is a multibillionaire who has become rich as a top venture capital investor in Silicon Valley.
He decided he didn’t want to be a distraction to the company before the elections. Thiel’s politics have made him a target of criticism at the company, with liberal-leaning critics saying he could be a bad influence on Meta Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg — although conservatives have seen him as an ally, given that much of the industry, they say, tends to be left-leaning.
Per the report, he is expected to step down after the company’s annual shareholder meeting, which usually happens in May.
Zuckerberg said in a statement, “Peter has been a valuable member of our board and I’m deeply grateful for everything he has done for our company — from believing in us when few others would, to teaching me so many lessons about business, economics and the world.”
Thiel originally rose to prominence in the early ’00s as a founder of PayPal.
Facebook has lost other team members in the past month or so, and it also unloaded its crypto unit Diem for $200 million to Silvergate Capital.
See also: Facebook Unloads Crypto Unit Diem to Silvergate Capital for $200M
That came after a long train of issues after Facebook, as the company was called at the time, rolled out the project in 2019 as Libra. They later renamed it Diem, though none of its ambitions ended up happening.
Silvergate Capital is a holding company for a small California bank and serves over 1,300 bitcoin and blockchain companies, per the company site.