Facebook has finally found a permanent executive for one of its key leadership positions in its international operation: Nicola Mendelsohn, a longtime veteran of the ad industry, is joining the social network as its VP, EMEA. She replaces Joanna Shields, who left Facebook nearly seven months ago in October 2012 to run Tech City, the London tech cluster advocacy group. Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions, was in the role on an interim basis.
Mendelsohn joins most immediately from Karmarama, an ad agency where she was partner and exec chairman. Before that she was at Grey London and a board member at BBH. She had also most recently been president of the IPA — the first female in the organization (an ad trade industry body) in 96 years. She’ll be leaving her position at Karmarama in July and making the transition then.
Facebook has had a mixed picture in EMEA and given that it currently makes the vast majority of its revenues from advertising, it makes sense to draw from that world for the role. Europe alone has 269 million monthly active users in Q1 but its ad revenues in the region actually declined last quarter, and are now at $423 million, down from $440 million the quarter previously. That was in a quarter where other regions like the U.S. declined as well — although some of that would have been due to seasonal attributes and also the fact that the last quarter covered a slightly longer period.
On the other hand, the EMEA operation also includes key markets that in some ways may represent some of the most interesting growth for Facebook: with regions like Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe also included in Mendelsohn’s remit, she will also be responsible for some of the emerging markets that are currently some of the fastest growing for the social network. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg said when Facebook announced 1 billion users, the next 1 billion is likely to be in emerging markets like those in in EMEA rather than in more developed and mature regions like the U.S.
Mendelsohn will be bringing deep contacts in the industry, along with both independent and big-four agency experience to the mix as Facebook looks to grow the number of brands and agencies relying on Facebook and its particular brand of social advertising for their marketing strategies.
“Facebook’s innovation in the way brands are putting people at the centre of the conversation is fascinating,” Mendelsohn said in a statement. “I am very excited to be joining the team and I look forward to bringing my experience to Facebook.”
She will be reporting to Everson. “I could not be more thrilled to announce Nicola Mendelsohn as the VP of EMEA,” Everson said in a statement. “She brings outstanding leadership and passion for what Facebook can do to become an indispensable partner for our clients and agencies throughout the region. It’s testament to Facebook’s innovative role in business and advertising that we’re able to welcome a leader with such great experience.”
More to come. Refresh for updates.
Read the rest here: Facebook Appoints Ad Vet Nicola Mendelsohn As Its New VP For EMEA
I reported on Friday that Thomas (who’s an old boss of mine — he was executive editor at VentureBeat back when I was the assistant editor) was in talks for the position, though all that Say representatives would tell me at the time was that they were talking to a number of candidates.
Formerly called ReadWriteWeb, the blog was founded by Richard MacManus back in 2003, and over the past decade it has been home to a number of great tech writers (including Frederic Lardinois, Sarah Perez and Alex Williams, who are all currently writing for TechCrunch). Last fall, the company announced the new name, a new design, and the hiring of Dan Lyons as editor. Lyons left last month to take a position at marketing software company HubSpot.
In some ways, Thomas and Lyons are similar choices: They have lots of media experience (yes, Owen, that’s my polite way of saying that you’re old), but they can also be snarky and controversial.
“Owen is a brilliant writer with great experience covering every aspect of the technology industry,” said Say SVP and Editorial Director Kate Lewis in a press release. “He has a distinct point-of-view and a cleverness that makes his work resonate both inside and outside of his community.”
ReadWrite has also published its own blog post announcing the move, in which Owen is described as “a shockingly nice fellow.” I’m not sure I’d go that far, but he is actually pretty nice, and that does surprise some people, especially since he used to be the editor of Valleywag.
“One thing we’re definitely going to do is go back to our roots,” Thomas told me. In other words, he wants to explore the idea embedded in the company’s name — what it means now that “everyone is a participant, everyone’s a builder today.”
When Lyons joined as editor, he told us that he wanted to make ReadWrite more fun. I pointed out that people are probably expecting that from Thomas too, but he said, “I have my serious side, Anthony.” He added that he definitely wants to make sure the site has a sense of humor, and that sometimes being funny or snarky is the most appropriate response to tech news: “You have to laugh so you don’t cry.”
A new report from the Wall Street Journal just out say that Google has made more major executive staffing and organizational changes today, breaking up the Maps and Commerce units, with SVP Jeff Huber stepping down from his position in charge of those divisions.
The news comes just a day after Google announced another major shakeup, by replacing Andy Rubin with Sundar Pichai as the head of its Google Android division. Huber, whose official title had been SVP of Geo and Commerce, has been with Google since 2003. Huber will move to Google X, which is the experimental division headed by Sergey Brin where Google works on its more ambitious projects like Google Glass.
Google’s Mapping unit will now become part of the Google search division, led by SVP Alan Eustace, and commerce will join the advertising team under SVP Susan Wojcicki, according to the WSJ. These changes were announced within Google alongside the change around Andy Rubin, Pichai and Android leadership.
Huber earned the title of SVP of Commerce and Local in 2011, moving from a previously held position as SVP of Engineering. It’s worth noting that Google announced yesterday that it was shutting down the Search API for Shopping, in order to shift focus to building a “better shopping experience for users through Google Shopping.” Overall, the company seems to be making moves to streamline its product offerings (killing some beloved services in the mix), as well as the management team and internal organization.
Frederic suggested yesterday that exiting Android chief Rubin might also be finding a place at Google X. The company seems to be putting more investment into that department, perhaps based on recent interest in high-profile projects originating form that unit like Google Glass and driverless cars. Staffing up what is arguably the most exciting center of innovation at Google could be a nice byproduct of making sure the management team and overall corporate structure is as efficient as it can be.
Huber tweeted the following from his personal account, confirming the shift:
Finishing up my first decade at Google, and excited to begin the next one at Google X. What would you like to see X do next?—
Jeff Huber (@jhuber) March 14, 2013
It’s hard to find a compelling use case for the Philips Hue. But Jim Rutherford and his son hacked the wireless LED lightbulbsto be in sync with the day/night cycle in Minecraft. It creates an immersive setup and is actually useful as creepers start appearing at nighttime.
In Minecraft, 24 hours go by in ten minutes. It’s therefore fairly easy to program the Hue to progressively change color. But Rutherford had to find a clever implementation to sync time between the game and the light.
He developed an iPad app to adjust the position of the sun or the moon in the sky according to the game. You just have to pan your finger across the screen. Then, the app handles the interface to the lightbulb. You can see how it pans out at the end of the video.
At $199 for the Philips Hue starter pack, it sure is an expensive accessory. Only the existing Hue owners or hardcore Minecraft players should consider replicating this setup.
Rutherford said that he will release the app in the App Store so that everyone will be able to enjoy Minecraft’s virtual sunset. For now, you can have a look at the source code.