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Industry Moves: WaPo’s Graham Joins Facebook’s Board

imageWashington Post (NYSE: WPO) chairman and CEO Don Graham has joined Facebook’s board. It might seem odd for a social net like Facebook to tap someone from the decaying newspaper industry, but WaPo has been having more success than others in the online space. While the company’s overall profits were down a considerable 19 percent in Q3, online grew 24 percent — no mean feat while a number of newspaper companies have started to post declines in that area. In any case, being on Facebook’s board could also influence Graham in some ways, as WaPo prepares for the arrival of Vijay Ravindran as chief digital officer in February. In the meantime, Facebook’s finances haven’t had a smooth time lately. Last week, the social net said its employees would be forced to wait to sell some of their Facebook shares, due to rising economic pressures. Release

Rafat adds: There is background here: Don Graham has been a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg for the last three years or so, and almost invested in the company early on, as Sarah Lacy’s book Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good describes it in some detail. At that time, Zuckerberg decided to go with a financial investor giving a much higher valuation, but the two have stayed friends since then, and now Graham finally has a formal role with the company he admires a lot.