By: Caroline McCarthy
Facebook announced Thursday the hire of Marne Levine, as its first-ever Vice President of Global Public Policy. She’ll start at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based tech company next month but will remain based in Washington, D.C. Currently, she serves as chief of staff for the White House National Economic Counsel; previously, following a background in the online payments space, she worked in the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Legislative Affairs and Public Liaison, and was chief of staff to former Treasury head Larry Summers when he was president of Harvard University.
“I’m excited that Marne is joining my team as Vice President, Global Public Policy,” a statement from Facebook vice president of communications Elliot Schrage read. “With over 70 percent of our users living outside the United States, her unique mix of government and Internet industry experience will be invaluable to help Facebook address some of the most interesting questions at the intersection of technology and public policy.”
As Facebook draws ever closer to the half-billion-member milestone, the company increasingly finds itself dealing with international governments and legislative bodies both inside and outside of the U.S. Part of Levine’s job will be to help build public policy teams in Asia, Europe, and the Americas; Facebook’s existing D.C. branch head, Tim Sparapani, will continue to manage the company’s relationship with the U.S. government.
Part of Levine’s background–connections to Harvard University, the Treasury Department, and Larry Summers–sounds a whole lot like that of another Facebook executive, chief operating officer and former Google sales exec Sheryl Sandberg, who was Summers’ chief of staff when he was at the Treasury Department. Sandberg was one of Facebook’s first prominent employees to come from a government background rather than Silicon Valley.
Facebook’s existing D.C. connections also run deep thanks to Donald Graham, chairman of the Washington Post Company, who serves on Facebook’s board of directors. The Washington Post was also the outlet for an op-ed penned by CEO Mark Zuckerberg after the company’s most recent privacy controversy, indicating Facebook’s desire to further permeate the close-knit world of D.C. influence and dealmaking.