It's time for a shake-up at Facebook's top ranks, according to one analyst.
In a note on Friday, Stifel's Scott W. Devitt suggested that the quickest path for Facebook (FB) - Get Report to restore credibility may be to make some changes in the C-suite, writing that: "With Facebook management under more scrutiny than ever, the campaign trail to rebuild credibility will be long and difficult. In our view, Facebook's board and management team could accelerate the credibility rebuild by considering making change(s) at the top of the organization."
The note cited recent reports of management dysfunction and sinking morale at Facebook, which included unflattering details on how CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, along with Facebook's board, responded to growing crises at the company. One of those details was Facebook's use of an opposition research firm called The Definers to smear critics and competitors amid criticism over Russian interference; Facebook ended its relationship with that group on Thursday.
Devitt noted that management changes may not happen, writing that the probability is "low," but noted that hiring a well-respected executive from outside of Facebook could help move the company past its credibility issues. He cited Uber's hiring of CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as an instance where an executive change was implemented to positive results.
Devitt isn't alone in questioning whether Facebook would be better off with a management change. Recently, a group of major shareholders signed on a proposal to oust Zuckerberg as chairman, which is due for a vote at a Facebook shareholder meeting in May 2019.
Zuckerberg told reporters on Thursday he wouldn't step down as chairman of Facebook after the wave of negative headlines this week, saying: "I don't particularly think that that specific proposal is the right way to go." Regardless, shareholders can't force Zuckerberg to do anything that he doesn't approve of, since he controls 60% of Facebook's voting shares via his super voting shares.
Facebook has spent much of the week running damage control, which included a blog post rebutting some of the investigation's claims, a call with reporters in which Zuckerberg described Facebook's efforts in removing violent or harmful content, and a "blueprint for content governance" posted on Zuckerberg's Facebook account.
Facebook's stock was down 3.5% on Friday.