A visitor photographs the Facebook Inc. pop-up office ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

Facebook Names State Department's Newstead as General Counsel

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. named Jennifer Newstead, a legal adviser to the U.S. State Department, as the social media giant’s general counsel to replace Colin Stretch, who announced he was leaving last year.

Newstead, who has worked at the State Department since 2017, previously was a partner at law firm Davis, Polk & Wardwell LLP, where she focused on cross-border regulatory, enforcement and litigation issues, Facebook said Monday in a blog post. She also has worked in other senior government roles at the Department of Justice, Office of Management and Budget, and the White House.

Facebook Names State Department's Newstead as General Counsel

Facebook’s new top lawyer is coming aboard as the company grapples with multiple government investigations and seeks to navigate new data-privacy rules in Europe -- and the growing threat of regulations around the world. The social network has been criticized over the past several years for failing to stop Russian manipulation during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, for its disclosures over user data collection, and for lapses in protecting privacy. Stretch, who joined Facebook in 2010 and served as general counsel for more than five years, will remain at the company through the summer to help with the shift.

“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,” Newstead said in the post.

The Menlo Park, California-based company also named John Pinette as vice president of global communications, taking over from Caryn Marooney.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.