Wed, 14 Nov 2018
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Washington

Former British Deputy PM to head Facebook's global affairs

By Sheetal Sukhija, US News
20 Oct 2018, 15:21 GMT+10

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - Battling a barrage of controversies, the world's largest social media company, Facebook made an announcement on Friday that boggled not just Silicon Valley, but the rest of the world too. 

Facebook announced that it was handing the role of the head of global policy and communications at the company to the former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. 

The position left vacant by Elliot Schrage is believed to be one of the most challenging jobs in the global communications landscape and Facebook's choice has left many questions unanswered.

Many experts and industry watchers wondered why the Mark Zuckerberg-led company hired the 51-year-old politician for what is its best-paid role.

But many also questioned why the former U.K. deputy prime minister would accept such a role. 

The former leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats, Clegg was deputy to David Cameron in the 2010-2015 coalition government.

Further, he is now set to become the most senior European politician ever in a leadership role in Silicon Valley.

Facebook announced that Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg engaged in talk with Clegg over the summer and were both, closely involved in the hiring process.

In the official announcement on Friday, Sandberg congratulated Clegg in a post of Facebook and wrote, “Our company is on a critical journey. The challenges we face are serious and clear and now more than ever we need new perspectives to help us though this time of change."

Meanwhile, Clegg, who was ousted as deputy prime minister in 2015 after his Liberal Democrats suffered a significant loss of support and the Conservatives won a majority, is set to move to California with his family to take on the new role.

The former minister will be reporting directly to Sandberg and his official title would be vice president of global affairs and communications at Facebook.

He wrote in a Facebook post on Friday, "Having spoken at length to Mark and Sheryl over the last few months, I have been struck by their recognition that the company is on a journey which brings new responsibilities not only to the users of Facebook's apps but to society at large. I hope I will be able to play a role in helping to navigate that journey."

He added, "Throughout my public life I have relished grappling with difficult and controversial issues and seeking to communicate them to others. I hope to use some of those skills in my new role."

He is set to take on one of the most significant roles at the social network firm at a time when Facebook is dealing with a number of scandals related to privacy, fake news and election meddling.

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