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Facebook Hires First Compliance Chief, Adds Two Big Law Partners

Jan. 29, 2021, 12:29 AM

Facebook Inc. has hired Henry Moniz as its first-ever chief ethics and compliance officer and brought on two former Big Law litigators to bolster an internal team coping with new legal challenges.

Moniz, who a year ago was tapped to be chief compliance officer and audit executive at media conglomerate ViacomCBS Inc., is poised to join Facebook next month.

“Henry Moniz will be joining Facebook to lead our strategy and execution of compliance matters in the U.S. and around the world,” Facebook spokeswoman Nneka Norville told Bloomberg Law.

Moniz marks the latest in a string of prominent legal hires by the social media company, which in January recruited Winston & Strawn antitrust litigation partner Eric Meiring and Venable financial services litigation partner Gerald Sachs in Washington.

Both law firms confirmed the departures of their partners, who bring expertise to Facebook as the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company faces pressure from competitors, lawmakers, and regulators.

Meiring, who has joined Facebook as an associate general counsel for litigation, is a former acting chief and assistant chief of the Justice Department’s antitrust division. The Global Competition Review, an antitrust and competition trade publication, touted Meiring as one of its rising stars in 2020. He joined Winston & Strawn in mid-2018 to handle antitrust and investigations work.

Sachs, now an associate general counsel for financial payments at Facebook, spent the past three years at Venable. Prior to that, he was an of counsel at Paul Hastings. He also was senior counsel for enforcement strategy at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when the agency was formed during the Obama administration.

Sachs spoke with Bloomberg Law last year about Federal Trade Commission policy. He was an attorney at the FTC after starting his legal career as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Facebook is currently facing an antitrust case filed by the FTC and several states in December that seeks to force the company to divest itself of popular applications like Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a quarterly earnings call Thursday that his company is considering an antitrust action of its own against rival Apple Inc.

Earlier this month, in an effort to confront claims that it hasn’t done enough to fight hate speech on its social media platforms, Facebook hired its first-ever vice president of civil rights in deputy general counsel Roy Austin Jr. He is a former partner at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis in Washington who served as White House domestic policy adviser and a civil rights lawyer at the Justice Department during the Obama administration.

As for Moniz, he prepares to join Facebook after being named earlier this month to the board of Kimco Realty Corp., a Jericho, N.Y.-based real estate investment trust that invests in shopping centers.

Business Insider first reported the news of Moniz’s hire Thursday, noting that he will start Feb. 8 and report to Facebook General Counsel Jennifer Newstead and the audit and risk oversight committee of the company’s board of directors. Moniz, a former Bingham McCutchen partner who spent nearly 16 years in-house at Viacom Inc., wasn’t available for comment about his new role at Facebook.

Moniz’s departure makes him the third former top lawyer at ViacomCBS to leave the newly combined media company within the past three months. ViacomCBS paid $20 million to five lawyers in 2019.

Laura Franco left her role as general counsel of the CBS-branded businesses in November to become chief legal and compliance officer for dating app Bumble Trading Inc. ViacomCBS General Counsel Jonathan Anschell on Jan. 1 became the new chief legal officer at toy maker Mattel Inc.

Christa D’Alimonte, a former top lawyer at Viacom who now serves as the top in-house lawyer at New York-based ViacomCBS, didn’t respond to a request for comment about Moniz’s potential replacement as compliance chief.

Newstead, who received more than $19 million in total compensation during her first year as legal chief for Facebook in 2019, didn’t respond to a request for comment about its latest legal hires. Newstead took over from former Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch, who stepped down that same year.

Bloomberg data shows that Newstead currently owns nearly $296,000 in Facebook stock. Securities filings show that Newstead sold off roughly $218,570 in company stock in January after unloading more than $3.5 million in Facebook stock last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com
John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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