Facebook has hired Nick Clegg, former deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, as its VP of global affairs and communications on Friday — coming as the company grapples with increasing criticism at home and outside the U.S.
Clegg replaces Elliot Schrage, the man that spearheaded Facebook’s response to the Cambridge Analytica data leak earlier this year, where up to 87 million users had their profiles unwittingly accessed. Schrage had announced he was leaving the company in June.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg called Clegg — who was Britain’s second-ranked politician from 2010 to 2015 — a “thoughtful and gifted leader” in a post congratulating him on joining the company.
“Every day people use our apps to connect with family and friends and make a difference in their communities,” Sandberg added. “If we can honor the trust they put in us and live up to our responsibilities, we can help more people use technology to do good.”
A clear Silicon Valley outsider, Clegg was the leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2007 until 2015, when he was removed as deputy prime minister following a Conservative victory in the general election.
“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,” Clegg said in his own Facebook post.
He’ll be tasked with helping shape Facebook’s path forward, following perhaps the most controversial year in its history. Facebook, six months after its Cambridge Analytica breach, announced last week another 30 million users were hit by hackers. The hack has European regulators debating a hefty fine for the company that could balloon to $1.63 billion. Investor trust, as well as public trust, has waned, with Facebook shares down 14 percent on the year.