Sometimes you've just gotta play hardball.
For example, Business Insider recently published emails and instant message conversations detailing how Zuck elbowed out of co-founder Eduardo Savarin in 2005. In what appears to be a particularly damning email, a 20-year-old Zuckerberg's outlines his plan to dilute Savarin's shares down from more than 30 percent without modifying the stakes held by other shareholders.
Now 28 years old, Zuck sits at the head of a powerful company that he will take public on Friday. Based on Facebook's recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the IPO is expected to raise as much as $18 billion and could vault the company's valuation to more than $100 billion.
Since the social network's beginnings in a Harvard dorm room, the hoodie-wearing CEO has faced his fair share of obstacles, missteps and tough calls along the way. Flip through the slideshow below to read about six people Zuck muscled out in the process.
The infamous Winklevoss twins have been giving Mark Zuckerberg grief ever since Facebook's launch back in 2004. The pair and a business partner (more on him later) commissioned Mark Zuckerberg to program a social networking site they had founded called ConnectU, but they later alleged in a lawsuit that Zuckerberg ripped off their idea and launched Thefacebook (later, Facebook) instead. After settling with the company for $65 million in cash and stock, the twins claimed that Facebook misled them about the value of the company's stock. They appealed the settlement all the way up to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court -- just one appeal shy of the Supreme Court -- before throwing in the towel in June 2011.
Divya Narendra partnered with the Winklevoss twins on their ConnectU project during their time at Harvard. Narendra fought Zuckerberg in court alongside the twins and founded his own investor community, called SumZero, before claiming his share of the $65 million settlement with the social network. A plotline in the film "The Social Network," which dramatized Facebook's founding, portrayed the Harvard students' working relationship and subsequent fallout with Zuckerberg.
Here's another name you probably recognize from "The Social Network." The film portrayed Zuck's deteriorating friendship with Facebook co-founder and fellow Harvard student Eduardo Saverin, culminating in a blatant betrayal on the part of Zuckerberg that ended his working relationship with Saverin. A new piece by Business Insider indicates that Saverin may not have been as much of a victim. As noted by BI, Zuckerberg planned to cut Saverin out of the company because he had failed to secure funding or set up a business model and had used the social network to run free ads for Joboozle, a side-project Saverin had developed. (Business Insider also published emails and instant messages, purportedly written by Zuckerberg, that shed light on the methods Zuck used to oust Saverin and dilute his shares in the company.) After a 2009 settlement with Facebook, Saverin retains an estimated five percent stake in the company. (His original stake was higher than 30 percent.) He recently renounced his U.S. citizenship, presumably to avoid the capital gains taxes on the profit he stands to make off Facebook's imminent IPO.
Napster creator Sean Parker, who also served as Facebook's first president, played a huge role in the development of the social network. According to Henry Blodget's recent profile of Mark Zuckerberg, Parker was also instrumental in securing Zuck's power over the company. However, as Blodget explains, despite Parker's contributions, Zuck and the company cut him loose a year after his arrival due to his "party-boy ways."
Zuckerberg also had a hand in the departure of Owen Van Natta, Facebook's former chief operating officer and the mind behind big deals like Microsoft's $240 million investment in the social network. "His greatest strength was deal-making, not management," writes Henry Blodget. "In early 2008, in the wake of the disastrous launch of an advertising product called Beacon, Facebook's senior team determined that the company needed a different kind of executive running the business." AllThingsD's Kara Swisher notes that Van Natta had long been gunning for a CEO spot, which he was unlikely to find a Facebook. "He has said to me many times that he had been hesitant to come to Facebook then, as he had been looking for a CEO job at the time," wrote Swisher when Van Natta left Facebook.