Facebook announced today that Erskine Bowles, a former White House Chief of Staff, has been added to the company's board of directors. In addition to Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Bowles joins current Facebook board members Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz, Jim Breyer of Accel Partners, Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company, Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital and Founders Fund, as well as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who joined just three months ago.
Bowles was president of the $8 billion University of North Carolina (UNC) system from 2006 to 2010. This fits nicely into Facebook's history, as the social network started out as an exclusive service for university students. Bowles is also a graduate of UNC and received his MBA from Columbia University.
Most recently, he was co-chair of President Barack Obama's bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. He also holds board positions with Morgan Stanley, Cousins Properties, Norfolk Southern, and Belk.
In 1993, US President Bill Clinton appointed Bowles as Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Bowles moved to the White House in 1994, where he served as Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff. He was White House Chief of Staff from 1996 through 1998, and also served as a member of the President's Cabinet, the National Security Council, and the National Economic Council.
Bowles started his professional career at Morgan Stanley. After that, he co-founded the investment bank Bowles, Hollowell, Conner & Co, created the venture capital firm Kitty Hawk Capital, and co-founded the private equity firm Carousel Capital.
"Facebook has clearly emerged as a transformative force in the world," Bowles said in a statement. "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."
"Erskine has held important roles in government, academia and business which have given him insight into how to build organizations and navigate complex issues," Zuckerberg said in a statement. "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."
Facebook undoubtedly wants Bowles to help the company as it is goes public next year, possibly as soon as Q1 2012. To do so, the company will have to have an initial public offering (IPO), and Bowles will likely help the social networking giant navigate through this process.
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