Facebook’s relatively new communications lead Nick Clegg — or Sir Nicholas Clegg to give him his full British title — is not your average PR pro.
The former leader of the British Liberal Party was deputy prime minister of the U.K. from 2010 until 2015, serving in a coalition government alongside Conservative PM David Cameron.
Clegg foresaw the mess that became Brexit following Cameron’s decision to put the contentious issue to a referendum by the British public, laying out a startlingly accurate doomsday scenario in a famous newspaper op-ed published just before the vote.
This experience will come in handy for Clegg following his appointment in October last year as head of global affairs and communications at Facebook, but the embattled social network’s Palo Alto HQ will not be a place to hide from the Brexit storm.
Rarely has one company been in such a tough position on all fronts reputation-wise than the Mark Zuckerberg-led social media behemoth.
In June, the House Judiciary Committee kicked off the first significant antitrust investigation by Congress in decades, with big tech under the spotlight from both political parties for spreading misinformation.
Facebook is also accused of meddling in elections and data privacy infractions, as well as not taking its responsibilities to sufficiently police nefarious content seriously enough.
With the 2020 U.S. election on the horizon, Facebook will continue to be in the eye of the storm as all parties look to influence voters through the platform.
The jury is still well and truly out on whether Clegg is up to the task of repairing Facebook’s leaky defenses and restoring its reputation, but it is unlikely that any communicator will be in a more pivotal position in global business over the next 12 months.