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Most Big Private Tech Firms Fall Far Short on Governance

By
Alfred Lee
 |  Nov. 28, 2017 6:46 AM PST
Photo: Art: Josh Brill

Despite their enormous size and influence, the biggest privately held technology companies eschew some basic corporate governance standards, blocking outside voices, limiting decision making to small groups of mostly white men and holding back on public disclosures, an in-depth analysis by The Information shows.

Questions about governance of private tech firms have intensified in the past year, partly fueled by upheaval at companies such as Uber and SoFi, where the chief executives were ousted following a wave of management missteps and sexual harassment allegations. To understand how companies are governing themselves, we gathered more than 1,000 data points on 30 prominent, privately held tech companies in the U.S. We looked at the makeup of their boards, shareholder rights and disclosure practices and calculated overall scores that ranked companies from best to worst. What we found makes clear the extent to which private tech companies have avoided expanding and diversifying their boards and installed structures that consolidate power among insiders.

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