Palantir appoints first female board member ahead of IPO

Key Points
  • Silicon Valley data miner Palantir has appointed Wall Street Journal reporter Alexandra Wolfe Schiff to its board ahead of a planned stock market listing.  
  • Named after the "seeing stones" in Lord of the Rings, Palantir is a highly secretive company that sells its software to governments and spy agencies around the world. 
Palantir office known as the "Jewel Box" in Palo Alto, California.
Mark Neuling | CNBC

Peter Thiel's Palantir has appointed Wall Street Journal reporter Alexandra Wolfe Schiff as its first female board member ahead of an anticipated stock market listing

Wolfe Schiff, who has been with the Wall Street Journal since 2013, announced the move on Twitter after it was first reported by Bloomberg

"Big news: After over seven wonderful years at the Wall Street Journal, I've resigned to join the board of Palantir," she said late Tuesday. 

Palantir's home state of California requires public firms to have at least one woman on their board and financial heavyweights such as Goldman Sachs have said they won't help companies go public if they don't have diverse boards. 

While some have congratulated Wolfe Schiff on the appointment, others have questioned whether it is ethical for a journalist to join the board of a company like Palantir, which provides software to spy agencies and governments for surveillance purposes.

"Enjoy joining the wrong side of history," said former Googler Alex Hidalgo in response to Wolfe Schiff's tweet. 

Palantir has also appointed Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff and venture capitalist Alexander Moore (an early Palantir employee) to its board, according to Bloomberg. Palantir did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

The reported new appointments take Palantir's board up to seven directors. The chair of the board is co-founder Peter Thiel, the billionaire Trump donor who also co-founded PayPal and profited from an early investment in Facebook. 

Palantir expects revenues to top $1 billion this year, which would represent 35% growth from 2019. 

The 16-year-old company has reportedly raised a further $500 million from Japan's Sompo that brings total investment in the firm up to at least $2.5 billion, according to start-up tracker Crunchbase. 

Last month, Palantir CEO Alex Karp told Axios the company would likely go public within the year.

Palantir is planning to file paperwork with U.S. regulators as early as this month and it could go public within the next few months, according to Bloomberg.