SAN FRANCISCO -- Twitter has added a female media veteran to its all-male board of directors.
Marjorie Scardino, 66, former chief executive of publishing company Pearson, joined the Twitter board Thursday after a deafening wave of criticism that it lacked diversity in its upper ranks.
The absence of a woman on Twitter’s board was “a joke,” Sallie Krawcheck, a former Bank of America Corp. executive, said last month at a Bloomberg LP conference.
It was also the only dark cloud over Twitter’s highly successful initial public offering last month in which it raised more than $2 billion.
Facebook, which also had no women on its board when it went public in May 2012, now has two female board members, including Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
Scardino is the first major appointment for Twitter since the IPO. The move expands the Twitter board to eight members. Scardino will replace David Rosenblatt on Twitter’s audit committee.
Scardino, a former lawyer, brings a wealth of international and media experience to the board. Over the course of five years she helped turn Pearson into the world’s largest book publisher and expanded the company’s education business while focusing on technology. She stepped down from the position about a year ago.
Twitter has granted her a restricted stock unit award of 4,018 shares of the company, which will vest quarterly over one year.
“There couldn’t be a more exciting time in Twitter’s history to join!” Scardino said in a tweet Thursday, her first message on the service.
Scardino will be tapped to help the San Francisco company build its advertising business. It’s expected to announce Thursday that it will roll out retargeted ads, a major step in that process.
Retargeting, in which marketers track consumers based on their browsing history to show them products on other websites, has been very successful for Facebook.