- The vice president of Facebook's Global Business Group, Carolyn Everson, left Facebook after more than 10 years with the company, per a post on her Facebook page. Nicola Mendelsohn, head of the EMEA region for the Global Business Group, will fill in as interim VP, a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC.
- Everson is widely credited with helping to grow Facebook's ad business into one of the leaders of the digital ad market. She was also the chief liaison to brands and agencies as Facebook dealt with controversies in the past few years, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal and last summer's advertiser boycott.
- Everson's departure was a surprise to the company and the ad industry, per a report in Ad Age. She reportedly grew frustrated with "running interference" for Facebook during its controversies and by the company's decision to pass her over for its newly created chief business officer position, the report notes.
The surprise exit of a key leader on Facebook's global ad sales team could impact the company's continued development of its ad business and its relationships with brands and agencies. Since joining the company in 2011, Everson has helped to develop Facebook's ad business into a behemoth that generated $84 billion in 2020 and represented more than a quarter of the total digital ad market.
"I am extremely proud of what we set out to accomplish but way more proud of my team and the support we showed each other, especially in difficult times. I always said no one will ever mention at my funeral the amount of revenue I oversaw. But hopefully one day someone will say my legacy at Facebook was in how I showed up for my team, for our clients and for our industry," Everson wrote in her Facebook post announcing her departure.
In mentioning "difficult times," Everson is likely alluding to the many controversies that Facebook and its ad business have faced in recent years, for which she often provided damage control with the ad industry. The company apologized for inflating its video ad metrics in 2016, was fined $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal and faced advertiser boycotts amid concerns about its role in spreading hate speech and misinformation last summer. The loss of Everson could change its relationships with brands and agencies in the event of further controversies and possibly slow its continued ad growth.
Along with frustration over the scandals, Everson was also reportedly upset at being passed over for the new position of chief business officer, which was created after Chief Revenue Officer David Fischer announced his departure in March and the company decided not to fill his position. Marne Levine, previously Facebook's VP of global partnerships, business and corporate development, was appointed chief business officer earlier this month.
Despite its various controversies and personnel changes, Facebook's ad business continues to grow, as it saw ad sales rise 46% from a year earlier to $25.44 billion in the first quarter of 2021. However, Apple's changes to ad tracking are expected to impact Facebook's bottom line beginning this quarter. Facebook has previously said that Apple's changes could trigger a 50% drop in revenue for its Audience Network, which lets developers use its consumer data for in-app ad targeting.