Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

Facebook Inc. announced Thursday that Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr senior international counsel Robert Kimmitt will assume the vacant position as the company’s lead independent director, a position connecting the company’s founder, CEO and controlling shareholder Mark Zuckerberg with the rest of the board.

Wilmer's Robert Kimmitt Wilmer’s Robert Kimmitt

Kimmitt, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany under President George H. W. Bush and deputy secretary of the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush, currently co-chairs Wilmer ’s crisis management and strategic response group and is based out of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. 

“I am excited to take on this leadership role on Facebook’s board, as the company continues to improve the ways technology and innovation can bring us together,” Kimmitt said in a statement announcing his appointment. “This moment in particular is an incredibly important time to help people connect. I look forward to working with Mark, [COO] Sheryl [Sandberg], and the rest of the board to further the company’s mission,” he said.

Kimmitt replaces Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the former lead independent director who left the Facebook board in October. 

“The lead independent director is an important role for us and we’ve been looking for a leader who can bring significant oversight and governance experience,” said Zuckerberg in the company announcement. “I’m confident Bob is going to make our board and our company better and I’m looking forward to working with him as we continue to build important social infrastructure to bring the world closer together.” 

Beyond government service and an earlier stint at Wilmer, Kimmitt was executive vice president of global public policy at Time Warner from 2001 to 2005 and vice chairman and president of Commerce One from 2000 to 2001, and managing director at Lehman Brothers from 1993 to 1997.

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