Facebook's policy and communications boss, Elliot Schrage, apologised to a female investor, who accused him of sexism, just days before announcing he is quitting.
Natasha Lamb, a managing partner at Arjuna Capital, said Schrage dismissed her and said she was "not nice" after she raised concerns about Facebook's gender pay gap.
Business Insider has seen the email he sent to Lamb, saying sorry for his "poor choice of words."
There is no suggestion that his departure is linked to the incident.
Facebook's vice president of communications and public policy, Elliot Schrage, sent an apology email to a female investor who accused him of sexism just days before announcing his departure.
Schrage announced that he was leaving Facebook after a decade on Thursday. His decision came just four days after investor Natasha Lamb accused him of dismissing her in a sexist way at the company's shareholder meeting last month.
There is no suggestion that his departure is linked to the incident and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised Schrage's contribution to the company.
"You've been committed to our mission throughout and have always seen the potential that comes when people can connect to others and build community. Thank you," Zuckerberg said in a comment under Schrage's Facebook post announcing his decision to quit.
Schrage accused of sexism
Activist investor Lamb used the shareholder meeting last month to raise concerns about Facebook's gender pay gap and other scandals, including fake news and hate speech. Lamb approached Schrage at the end of the meeting to discuss her concerns in more detail, but said he refused to engage, saying she was "not nice."
The Arjuna Capital managing partner told Business Insider that his response was "stunning." She added: "Calling a woman 'not nice' who's being assertive and asking questions is just a classic example, almost a meme of sexism."
Lamb shared Schrage's apology email with Business Insider. She said he sent it after learning that she was going public with her story in a piece for the Financial Times, which was published on Monday.
His apology email
Lamb asked us not to publish the email in full, but it was titled "Our interaction -- and Facebook's commitment," and contained a fulsome apology for his "poor choice of words."
"I want to apologize directly for my comments when we met at the FB shareholder meeting," Schrage wrote. "I shouldn’t have expressed myself – and should never express myself – in ways that can correctly be interpreted as insulting or offensive. I was wrong to do so. I respect shareholders who shed light on important issues and push companies like ours to act thoughtfully and responsibly."
Lamb said his apology "adequate" and she now considers the matter closed.
Facebook told Business Insider this week that it has repeatedly listened to Lamb's concerns. It added that it has paid men and women equally for the past three years, across its operations globally.