Facebook Appoints Ad Vet Nicola Mendelsohn As Its New VP For EMEA

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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.