Jim Breyer, one of the earliest investors and advisers to Facebook, will leave the social network’s board in June.

His decision not to seek re-election comes after he sold more than half his Facebook shares– worth $282m – since the company’s initial public offering last May.

“After over eight years of board service, it’s time to step aside in light of my other responsibilities,” he said.

Mr Breyer serves on several other boards, including News Corp, Walmart, Dell, and most recently, the Harvard University Corporation Board. He said earlier this week he would not stand for re-election to Walmart’s board.

It is common for venture capitalists to leave the boards of start-up companies once they have stabilised, according to corporate governance experts, with eight years considered a substantial tenure on a board.

Leaving the board also frees Mr Breyer to sell more of his Facebook stock, as he will no longer be subject to restrictions that prevent directors from trading shares.

Some experts questioned Mr Breyer’s decision to sell so much of his personal stake in the company before leaving the board.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive, sold $1.1bn worth of stock at the IPO to cover a tax bill. Peter Thiel, board director and an early investor, sold $1bn worth of stock on behalf of his various venture funds.

Facebook thanked Mr Breyer for his service and said it would rely on the expertise of its expanded board. Susan Desmond-Hellman, chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, joined in March, following the appointment of Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer last June, after Facebook faced criticism for having no women on its board.

“We will continue to have a strong relationship with Jim,” Facebook said in a statement. “Jim made many, many important contributions during his long tenure on the board and we were well served by his presence.”

Get alerts on Facebook Inc when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article