Former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is leaving the world of politics to take a senior job at Facebook.
In a surprise move, the 51-year-old is due to start at the social media giant as its vice president of global affairs and communications on Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Clegg replaces long-time exec Elliot Schrage, who will stay on at the firm as an advisor.
It is understood that both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg were deeply involved in the hiring process after the three started talking over the summer, the source tells CNN.
“I am delighted to be joining Facebook. After almost twenty years in European and British politics, this is an exciting new adventure for me,” Clegg announced on his official Facebook account 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 continued.
Clegg – a Liberal Democrat who lost his Sheffield Hallam seat in last year’s snap election to Labour – is the most senior European politician to ever take up a senior executive leadership role in Silicon Valley.
His hire is the latest move made by Facebook to tackle some of the reputational challenges the company has faced in recent times over issues such as fake news and data protection.
It is understood that Clegg was tapped for the role as he is expected to challenge the firm on these complex issues and bring in new perspectives from outside Silicon Valley.
Clegg will head to Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters next week before returning to London until his family – including wife Miriam and three sons – relocate to California in the new year.