Sheryl Sandberg, who joined Facebook nearly two years ago as chief operating officer, has been nominated by Walt Disney Company’s board of directors to join as an independent director. She’ll start pending her election at Disney’s next annual meeting.
There are a few interesting angles here. Clearly, Facebook is becoming an increasingly important way for media companies to reach online users. Disney has invested in a variety of Facebook Pages for its movies, theme parks, and other properties, and it has succeeded in gaining millions of fans. A former Google executive and top U.S. Treasury Department staffer, she’ll provide Disney with her perspective on running large organizations and growing a business on the web.
Disney also has a long history of pushing forward with technology, as was highlighted by its $7.4 billion purchase of Pixar Animation Studios earlier this decade. Pixar has had a steady line of digital feature film hits, providing a boost to Disney’s portfolio. That purchase also made Pixar’s biggest shareholder, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, the number one shareholder in Disney; the addition of Sandberg, in some sense, is another example of Apple and Facebook rubbing elbows.
Sandberg also already serves on a variety of other boards, including Starbucks, and nonprofits including The Brookings Institution, The AdCouncil, Women for Women International and V-Day. Fortune ranked her as one of the most 10 most powerful women in business, earlier this year; she has also taken a prominent role in helping professional women balance the challenges of work with raising families.