Facebook has hired former deputy prime minister of the UK Nick Clegg as its head of global policy and communication.
The 51-year-old former politician served as leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2007 to 2015, and was the second most powerful political leader of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2015.
According to the Washington Post, Clegg will move to California to replace Elliot Schrage, who had held the position on Facebook for the past decade.
Clegg joins Facebook as the social media giant seeks to navigate increasingly complex matters of diplomacy with governments around the globe, and as regulators continue to scrutinize Facebook for a range of issues which include its use of customer data and how it protects the integrity of democratic elections.
Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg acknowledged that the company is on a critical journey when she announced that Clegg is joining Facebook as Vice President for Global Affairs and Communications on Friday.
Sandberg said that amid the serious challenges that Facebook faces, the company needs now more than ever new perspective to help with the changes.
Unlike his predecessor Schrage, a Harvard-educated lawyer who has worked at Google, Clegg could offer an outsider’s view as a non-American, and an insider’s perspective being a former member of the European parliament.
“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. That’s what motivates our teams and from all my conversations with Nick, it’s clear that he believes in this as well,” Sandberg posted on Facebook.
Facebook hopes that Clegg’s experience and ability to work through complex issues will help the company in the coming years.
This is not the first time that Facebook sought the help of an individual with political background, but Clegg is so far the highest-profile politician to take a leadership position in the history of the company.
In a public post on Facebook, Clegg said that he is delighted to join Facebook after nearly 20 years in European and British politics. Clegg said that he considers his new role as a new adventure.
“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,” Clegg said.