Folks in the United Kingdom have been aware of Nick Clegg for quite some time. He rose to prominence in British politics, most famously in his role of ‘Deputy Prime Minister’ when head of a UK political party called the Liberal Democrats.
It’s fair to say, some eyebrows were raised when Clegg washed up on Facebook’s shores…
So, who is he and what does he do at Meta?
Sir Nick, to you & me
Sir Nick Clegg (knighted in 2018) was born in 1967, making him 55 at time of writing. He beckons from a town called Chalfont St Giles (yes reader, this is the name of a real English town) in Buckinghamshire, England.
His first major political post was as a Member of European Parliament. His work remained in Brussels until 2002, when he returned to the UK, becoming a Liberal Democrat MP for the first time in 2005. He rose through the party, becoming leader in 2008.
A history in British politics
Skip forward to 2010, as we arrive at Clegg’s most prominent period in politics. The 2010 election had effectively ended in a stalemate – no single political party able to form a government that would command a majority in the House of Commons.
The solution – Britain’s first ‘coalition’ government since the era of Winston Churchill, with Clegg’s Lib Dems joining the Conservative party as the minority partner in a coalition, providing them with a big enough platform from which to govern.
A fair few things happened during the term of this government, but perhaps the one which left the biggest mark on Nick was the issue of university tuition fees. It had been considered one of the flagship policies of the Lib Dems with all of the party’s MPs, including Clegg, signing the Vote for Students pledge to oppose any increase in student tuition fees prior to the 2010 general election. This, however, came to pass under the coalition government, leaving the Lib Dems in uncomfortable territory.
Clegg eventually had to apologise for making ‘a promise we weren’t absolutely sure we could deliver’, an apology which was infamously edited into a parody song.
In October 2018 it was announced that Clegg would be joining Facebook, taking up the role of Vice-President, Global Affairs and Communications. This was a post-Cambridge Analytica scandal Facebook, so certainly a high profile and important role, with the company’s reputation being dragged through the mire.
In 2020, Clegg helped lead the creation of the Facebook Oversight Board, reporting to him, co-chaired by the former Danish Prime Minister, no-less. He then played a role in Facebook’s deplatforming of U.S. President Donald Trump in 2021.
Finally, in 2022, Clegg completed his climb to the top when he was promoted to Head of Global Affairs. This is truly a top-seat in the upper echelons of Meta’s management structure and presumably a role very closely aligned with Zuckerberg.
He even played a starring role in Meta’s glitzy announcement video last year…
Part of Meta’s top brass
It’s fair to say that Sir Nick Clegg’s prominent role at Meta means he might have a big part to play in its future. He’s certainly had his fair share of personal experience with PR disasters, so arguably few are better qualified to help steer Meta through some of the inevitable legal and reputational challenges coming its way.
Time will tell if Clegg can have a positive influence on the American behemoth.