Sir Nick Clegg is coming back home London, mainly to be closer to his elderly parents. But the former deputy Prime Minister is also coming back to the capital because it’s a great place for him to be based as he takes Meta – the latest name for Facebook – even more global. He won’t be alone: London is home to more than 4,000 employees of Meta.
Best remembered for two words – tuition fees – Clegg hasn’t done badly since leaving politics. After becoming Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications for Facebook in 2018, he relocated to Menlo Park, California, before being promoted to President of Global Affairs (an overarching title if ever there was one), earlier this year. He’s rumoured to be rewarded a whopping £15m a year.
Clegg regards London as a useful base for travelling to Europe and Asia in his quest to make Meta global while he wants to be closer to his parents, saying his “heart belongs massively 5,000 miles away.“
Clegg is not the only one to give up on sunny California. He follows numerous other Silicon Valley leaders ditching California for Clapham. Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced he would relocate to London, after chief marketing officer Adam Schultz made the move. For the first time, Clegg may find himself lauded by Brexiteers for demonstrating Britain is open for business.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has long favoured remote working, with senior staff allowed greater flexibility over their distance from California. Given the accusations of former Facebook employee, Frances Haugen, Zuckerberg will be wanting a global promotion of Meta’s message of peace and love.
Back home, Clegg’s employer faces attacks on multiple fronts. The government’s Online Safety Bill limits online content and makes technology companies liable for “legal but harmful” content. In the private sector, Meta faces immense competitive challenges from TikTok, especially from younger users. Good luck to him.