The company said Monday that Thiel will stay on until Meta’s next shareholder meeting later this year, where he will not stand for reelection.
Thiel joined Facebook’s board in 2005, a year after the company was founded and seven years before its made its debut on Wall Street. But the red-pilled PayPal cofounder has been an increasingly polarizing figure among the company’s directors due to his conservative politics.
“Peter is truly an original thinker who you can bring your hardest problems and get unique suggestions,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “He has served on our board for almost two decades, and we’ve always known that at some point he would devote his time to other interests.”
Meta Platforms Inc. did not say what Thiel planned to do after his director stint is over. But reports in the New York Times and Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources close to Thiel, said he wants to focus on influencing November’s midterm elections and support candidates who would further the conservative agenda.
Zuckerberg used his personal wealth to sway the 2020 election in Democrats’ favor, with critics accusing him of violating the law after he funneled nearly half a billion dollars into so-called nonprofits that coached election officials and promoted the addition of unmanned ballot drop-boxes for strategic blue-run cities in states that Trump won in 2016.
A representative for Thiel did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
In a statement, Thiel said “It has been a privilege to work with one of the great entrepreneurs of our time. Mark Zuckerberg’s intelligence, energy, and conscientiousness are tremendous.”
Thiel, who also is gay, grew increasingly disaffected with the leftist technocracy after outlets including Gawker sought to out him for his private donations. He financially backed a lawsuit by Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea to sue the outlet, forcing it into bankruptcy after it published a sex tape of the former professional wrestler.
Thiel has since moved to Florida as part of a growing exodus of conservative thinkers and luminaries who cast off oppressive blue-state regulations while gravitating toward Trump’s sphere of influence.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press