- Facebook has hired a new general counsel.
- Jennifer Newstead, a top lawyer at the US State Department, is joining the beleaguered social networking firm.
- She is replacing Colin Stretch, who has been planning to leave for nearly a year.
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Facebook has finally found a new general counsel — hiring Jennifer Newstead, a top lawyer at the US State Department, to fill the role.
The social network’s previous general counsel, Colin Stretch, originally announced his intention to leave in July 2018. But as the California company lurched from scandal to scandal, he ended up staying on. He will continue to be with Facebook “through the summer to help with the transition,” the company said on Monday.
Newstead most recently served as a legal adviser for the US State Department, “overseeing work on all domestic and international legal issues affecting the conduct of US foreign policy,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing the news.
She joins Facebook at a time of extreme upheaval. Over the last two years the company has faced successive crises, from the Cambridge Analytica scandal to its role spreading hate speech that fueled genocide in Myanmar. Public attitudes towards big tech — and Facebook specifically — have soured accordingly, with increasing calls for stricter legislation or even antitrust measures.
“I’m excited to be joining Facebook at an important time and working with such a fantastic team,” she said in a statement. “Facebook’s products play an important role in societies around the world. I am looking forward to working with the team and outside experts and regulators on a range of legal issues as we seek to uphold our responsibilities and shared values.”
On Monday, Facebook also announced a new vice president of global communications — John Pinette, the former VP of marketing and communications at Vulcan, who has also worked at Google and Bill Gates’ Gates Ventures. He replaced Caryn Marooney, who announced her exit in February 2019.
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