In a letter to the lead independent director for Microsoft Corporation, National Legal and Policy Center has asked for the removal of billionaire Reid Hoffman from the company’s board of directors, due to his hyper-partisan political activities and his connections to the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, whose private island Hoffman visited in 2014.
NLPC owns stock in Microsoft and is also sponsoring a shareholder proposal at this year’s annual meeting, which will be held on December 7, 2023. LinkedIn, which was co-founded by Hoffman, was acquired by Microsoft in December 2016. He joined Microsoft’s board in March 2017.
As NLPC’s Paul Chesser wrote in his letter to the company’s top independent director, Sandra Peterson, Hoffman has shown poor discernment in his associations, poor judgment in his political and social actions, and utter disregard for Microsoft’s reputation and shareholder value.
“Reid Hoffman’s wealth and arrogance have clearly gone to his head and he appears to think he doesn’t have to be accountable to anyone,” said Chesser, who is director of NLPC’s Corporate Integrity Project (CIP).
“Whether its visiting ‘Pedophile Isle’ with Jeffrey Epstein, or calling the likely 2024 Republican presidential nominee ‘The Disease President,’ or simply advising aspiring entrepreneurs to ‘ignore your customers,’ Hoffman obviously would rather satiate his sensual impulses than properly oversee the fiduciary responsibilities of a major technology company,” said Luke Perlot, associate director and chief researcher for the CIP.
In the heavily footnoted letter to Microsoft, NLPC pointed out three major reasons that make Hoffman unsuitable for the board: his close association with Epstein; his unrestrained, hyper-partisan political urges; and his hypocritical views regarding “civic participation” and his own company’s censorship practices.
Excerpts from the letter:
According to Axios, Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Epstein both aggressively fundraised for the [MIT Media Lab], with Mr. Hoffman also inviting Mr. Epstein to join him at an August 2015 dinner in Silicon Valley that included tech entrepreneurs Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel. In an email to Mr. Thiel, according to the Wall Street Journal, “Hoffman wrote that Epstein was a ‘mostly fun, very interesting guy, you may find him perverse, but very smart on biology, computation, macro econ.’”…
Mr. Hoffman’s extremely poor judgment leaves many unanswered questions. Recognizing Mr. Epstein as “perverse,” how did Mr. Hoffman justify ongoing collaboration with the convicted pedophile, who maintained his own luxury island to traffic underage girls to fulfill the sexual desires of himself and his associates? How could a highly educated, savvy and instinctive tech billionaire agree to visit such a place, with such a person, with such a detestable reputation, unless it was intentional, showing utter disregard for his own image and that of the businesses and organizations with which he is identified? …
MotiveAI, another firm credited with “with backing from billionaire LinkedIn chairman Reid Hoffman,” ran ads through associated limited liability companies that featured offensive content and disinformation…. Facebook pages with MotiveAI associations made sexist comments about former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Republican megadonor Rebekah Mercer. One such page called Rep. Gabbard a “C.W.I.L.F.,” which stands for a “Congresswoman I’d like to f---”…
Mr. Hoffman…could easily advocate for [LinkedIn] to remain open to all for reasoned political debate, but there is no evidence that he does. In fact, his own history indicates that he encourages such snubs. As a self-styled expert on venture capital-funded startups…Mr. Hoffman recommends one counterintuitive business practice for an alleged path to success: “Ignore your customers.”
Is this an image that Microsoft wishes to project?
NLPC called for Peterson to ask for Hoffman’s resignation, and if he refuses to do so, then to seek his removal. Hoffman is listed as a nominee for re-election to the board on the company’s proxy statement.
“Reid Hoffman has been very successful in business but he has shown very poor judgment,” said Peter Flaherty, chairman of NLPC. “Wealth should not be an exemption from decent behavior. Microsoft will be a better company when Hoffman leaves the board.”
Founded in 1991, NLPC promotes ethics in public life and government accountability through research, investigation, education, and legal action.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Paul Chesser, contact Dan Rene at 202-329-8357 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please visit http://www.nlpc.org.
National Legal and Policy Center