Facebook has hired former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to lead its global affairs and communications team, as the social network deals with a number of scandals related to privacy, fake news and election meddling. Matt Larotonda reports.
(REUTERS, UK POOL) – He was not the obvious choice.
But Facebook has a new global PR chief.
Britain’s former deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg.
The appointment will surprise Silicon Valley and London about equally.
And many will question if Clegg’s track record bodes well for the social network.
He lost his seat in parliament in the 2017 UK general election.
He stepped down as leader of the Liberal Democrats after they were all but wiped out in the previous election, two years earlier.
Though at least that means he has experience dealing with hostile questions.
That might come in handy for a company besieged by debates over privacy, fake news and Russian meddling.
In a post on Facebook – of course – Clegg said he relished grappling with difficult and controversial issues, and would bring that skill to his new job.
Facebook says founder Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg were closely involved in the appointment.
There might be one other thing on Clegg’s resume that caught their eye.
He is also a former member of the European Parliament, and once worked as a trade negotiator for the European Commission.
Very handy perhaps, when Brussels has U.S. tech giants in its sights for fresh regulations.
Still, Facebook will be hoping Clegg has more success in the tech world, than he ultimately did in politics.