Sir Nick Clegg returns to London in Meta’s latest move

Meta President Global Affairs Nick Clegg represents a portrait at the IV Summit of CEOs of the Americas on the sidelines of the IX Summit of the Americas on June 7, 2022 – PATRICK T. FALLON/ AFP

Sir Nick Clegg is joining a string of senior Facebook execs moving to London after four years in Silicon Valley, despite predicting an “economically insecure” Britain would hemorrhage the tech business after Brexit. .

The 55-year-old former Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister, who is chairman of global affairs at Facebook’s parent company Meta, is expected to split his time between homes in London and California upon his return to Britain.

Sir Nick – who left the UK to work for billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg after losing his MP seat – has made no secret of his desire to leave California, saying last year that his “heart belongs to 8,000 miles of distance”.

However, the decision is likely to raise eyebrows, given his record of heartfelt warnings about the damage Brexit would do to UK plc – particularly in the industry he is now employed in.

In a 2017 interview, he said, “Pretty much everyone I talk to in the tech sector in particular feels this sucking sound. Things that could have started here starting in Berlin.

“Investments that could have been made here are being frozen. New innovations that could have flourished here are starting to flourish in Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lisbon.”

Meta has been expanding in London despite Sir Nick’s earlier concerns, opening a new 620,000 square foot office in Kings Cross earlier this year to house 4,000 employees.

News of his relocation comes a day after Instagram boss Adam Mosseri is moving to London as the app struggles to stop an exodus of users to rival TikTok. Marketing director Alex Schultz will also move to the UK this year.

Meta declined to comment.

Sir Nick is said to have chosen to return for personal reasons, including being closer to his aging parents.

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, wife of Sir Nick’s lawyer, was also reluctant to leave the capital when they went to California, telling the Evening Standard in 2019: “It’s never a good time to leave London.”

Sir Nick joined Facebook in 2018 as head of global affairs and rose through the ranks to be named Mark Zuckerberg’s number two – with the title of president of global affairs – when COO Sheryl Sandberg stepped down earlier this year.

The former leader of the Liberal Democrats was promoted six months ago, with his new role giving him responsibility for the company’s dealings with all governments around the world.

He reports directly to Chief Executive Zuckerberg and has received £10m worth of shares in Facebook’s parent company Meta, in addition to his stated salary of £2.7m, as part of his promotion.

Zuckerberg has embraced a shift to remote work at Meta since the start of the pandemic, but it wasn’t until this year that a number of executives decided to move from their Silicon Valley headquarters.

Sir Nick’s California mansion was worth around £7 million when he and Durantez bought it in 2019. Forbes magazine described its location in Atherton, a town in California’s Silicon Valley, as “the most expensive zip code” in all of the world. United States.

Mrs. Durantez posted on Instagram in 2019, amid a string of complaints about the US: “A week and a half in California and I already had to fill out 63 application forms – and no, not all of them were online! Next time any Brexites complain about European bureaucracy, just point them at the US.”

Former Sheffield MP Hallam spearheaded Facebook’s response to the Ukraine invasion, banning Russian propaganda outlets RT and Sputnik from the social networking site. Sir Nick also relaxed Facebook’s rules on violence to prevent moderators from deleting posts by Ukrainians calling for armed resistance against the Russian invaders.

Russia’s response was to ban Facebook and Instagram from operating within its borders, costing Meta around $1.7bn (£1.4bn) in lost revenue.

Meta’s latest financial results saw its first drop in revenue, from $29 billion to $28.8 billion in the three months ending in June.

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