Does Facebook COO Nomination To Disney Board Signify Convergence?

by , Dec 23, 2009, 5:05 PM
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Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has been nominated to the board of directors of the Walt Disney Co., Burbank, Calif.

Sandberg, 40, took the role of COO at Facebook in March 2008, after leaving Google -- where she managed the company's online sales efforts, which support AdWords and AdSense services. She also held a position as chief of staff at the Treasury Department in the Clinton administration.

Sandberg's experience at Google in AdWords and AdSense could provide Disney with a much-needed perspective around online advertising -- both contextual targeted ads and paid search.

Laura Martin, an analyst at Needham & Co., suggests that the appointment signifies the convergence of social networking with old media entertainment. Disney's appointment solidifies the company's move into the forefront of social media and networking. "It's a cheaper way than buying the company," she says, pointing to News Corp.'s MySpace acquisition as an example of an expensive endeavor.

Sandberg is also a director of Starbucks and serves on a number of nonprofit boards, including The Brookings Institution, The AdCouncil, Women for Women International and V-Day.

"Sheryl has been at the forefront of a technological revolution that's opened up a world of new possibilities for consumers and which has greatly affected the way we do business," said Robert A. Iger, Disney's president and chief executive officer. "Her unique insight, born of great practical experience, will be of considerable value to Disney's shareholders."

Disney shareholders will vote on Sandberg's nomination and the re-election of the company's other dozen directors at the next Disney annual meeting, March 10, in San Antonio, Texas.

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