September 8, 2011 1:22 am

Facebook adds Bowles to board

Facebook has added Erskine Bowles, a Democratic political figure and academic administrator, to its board of directors.

Mr Bowles served as White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton and is currently the co-chair of President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. He also served as president of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system and holds board positions with Morgan Stanley and Cousins Properties.

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Facebook has been building its board of directors in anticipation of an IPO, expected sometime next year. Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, was appointed to the board in June.

“Erskine has held important roles in government, academia and business which have given him insight into how to build organisations and navigate complex issues,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, on Wednesday. “Along with his experience founding companies, this will be very valuable as we continue building new things to help make the world more open and connected.”

The announcement comes at the same time Facebook’s revenues reportedly doubled to $1.6bn in the first six months of 2011, according to Reuters.

Mr Bowles will also bring political savvy to the company in advance of the 2012 presidential elections, in which Facebook outreach is expected to figure prominently, as it did in 2008.

Facebook recently hired other Washington insiders, including Joe Lockhart, a former White House press secretary under Mr Clinton, and Joel Kaplan, who served as George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff.

“Facebook has clearly emerged as a transformative force in the world,” Mr Bowles said. “It’s no wonder given the talent Mark has put in place and the company’s focus and dedication to its mission. I’m really looking forward to getting to work and helping Facebook however I can.”

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