Facebook’s vice president of policy solutions Richard Allan will soon leave the global social media giant after more than a decade, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Allan, who also sits in the UK House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat peer with the official title Baron Allan of Hallam, joined Facebook in 2009 as the company’s European director of public policy.
He has been an active lobbyist and spokesperson for Facebook, often fronting awkward inquiries on behalf of the company’s executives.
Most recently, Facebook turned to Allan to face down irate lawmakers from nine countries that had called for the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, to answer questions in London about the company’s use of data.
The former MP arrived to find an empty chair put out for Zuckerberg before being grilled for several hours by frustrated lawmakers about data issues and the disclosure of damaging internal documents from a US court case. Allan would later concede Zuckerberg’s refusal to appear before the committee didn’t look “great”.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Facebook’s vice president of global policy, Joel Kaplan, said Allan had made an “immense contribution” to the company during his 10 years there.
“His sharp instincts, brilliant insights, and remarkably consistent good judgement have shaped the way we think about our role in the world,” Kaplan said. “We wish him and his family all the best for the future.”
BuzzFeed News understands Allan is stepping down for family reasons.
His departure from Facebook comes less than a year after another senior Liberal Democrat, Nick Clegg, joined as vice president of global affairs and communications.
Both men have served as members of Parliament for the constituency of Sheffield Hallam, with Clegg replacing Allan in the seat at the 2005 general election.