Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor co-founder of PayPal and longtime board member of Meta, formerly Facebook, plans to step down, the company announced Monday, according to Fox Business reported. Instead, Thiel would support Trump-friendly Republican Senate candidates in the upcoming election.

The 54-year-old German businessman will step down from the board after nearly 17 years of working alongside Mark Zuckerberg and, he said, will remain in his position until the 2022 annual shareholder meeting.

According to a report by Politico, Thiel will focus on supporting candidates aligned with former President Trump’s agenda in the upcoming 2022 election.

Thiel was an early backer of Donald Trump in his presidential campaign. He donated $1.5 million to pro-Trump political action committees and spoke at the Republican National Convention.

This year he would be focused on helping Blake Masters, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona, and JD Vance in Ohio. It is even mentioned that he will support Florida Governor Ron De Santis, who is seeking re-election next year, with whom, according to Político, he met privately.

In addition, the media mentions that Thiel donated $20 million in total to political action committees that separately support Vance and Masters.

According to Forbes, the conservative investor has an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion. He has been on Meta’s board since 2005, when Facebook was a small startup spreading across college campuses, being one of its largest outside investors. That year Zuckerberg changed the company’s name from “thefacebook.com” to “Facebook.”

Seventeen years later, and following the announcement of his retirement from the Tech Giant, Thiel said in a statement, “It has been a privilege to work with one of the great entrepreneurs of our time. Mark Zuckerberg’s intelligence, energy, and conscientiousness are tremendous. His talents will serve Meta well as he leads the company into a new era.” 

Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg wrote in the same statement posted on the Meta website, “Peter has been a valuable member of our board, and I’m deeply grateful for everything he has done for our company. From believing in us when few others would, to teaching me so many lessons about business, economics, and the world.” 

He further said that the company always knew that “at some point he would devote his time to other interests” and wished him well. 

News of Thiel’s departure comes just days after Facebook’s devastating earnings report. The company reported a 26% drop in its stock following its first-ever decline in daily active users, wiping $237 billion off its investment capital.

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