Technology

Facebook taps former Vulcan and Gates Ventures exec John Pinette to run global communications

John Pinette. (Facebook Photo)

Facebook has a new point person for its global communications, and he’s a familiar figure in the Pacific Northwest tech community. The social media giant just announced Seattle tech industry vet John Pinette as its new VP of global communications, replacing Caryn Marooney, who held the role for eight years before announcing her departure in February.

The social network also named Jennifer Newstead as its new general counsel, succeeding Colin Stretch, who announced and then delayed his plans to leave the company last year.

The appointments come at a pivotal time for the social media company, which continues to navigate the fallout over Russian election meddling efforts on its platform. Adding to existing scrutiny of the company, an explosive story in the New York Times in November documented how the company’s leaders failed to address those efforts and later hid information from the public. Marooney’s departure was announced in February.

Pinette was most recently VP of marketing and communications at Vulcan Inc., late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s holding company. He left that role in early March, part of a series of changes at the Seattle company following Allen’s death last October.

Before his Vulcan role, Pinette served as director of communications at both Gates Ventures, Bill Gates’ private office; and the prominent hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management. Prior to that, he led Google’s communications efforts in Asia and was a Microsoft director of communications.

“This is a great opportunity at a remarkable company. I’m excited to be joining the communications team in Menlo Park, though I know I’ll miss Seattle profoundly,” Pinette told GeekWire in an email. Pinette will start the new gig in early May.

In the new role, Pinette will report to Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global policy and communications, who was hired last fall and was formerly the UK’s deputy prime minister.

“John’s deep understanding of the technology industry and his experience leading communications teams will be invaluable to helping us communicate the work we do at Facebook every day,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement. “We are also thankful to Caryn for her exceptional contribution to Facebook over the past eight years. She has been an inspiring and thoughtful leader to our communications team and countless others at the company. Both she and Colin will be greatly missed.”

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