Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said in a Facebook post announcing his departure from the company at the end of the year, “There is never a ‘right time’ for a transition like this,” and that would seem to be an understatement for the social network.
The company is dealing with fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and continued heat both domestically and internationally over its impact on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and concerns about privacy, questionable content and fake news.
Stretch joined Facebook’s legal team in 2010, serving as lead negotiator for its settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011, leading the appellate victory against the Winklevoss twins and leading the team that advised the company on potential legal issues concerning new products.
Prior to Facebook, Stretch was a partner at Washington, D.C.-based law firm Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Fige, and he also served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman.
In June 2013, Stretch was promoted from vice president and deputy general counsel to general counsel, succeeding Ted Ullyot, who left the company that year.
In his farewell post, Stretch cited his decision to move back to Washington, D.C., a few years ago and the need for “sustained leadership in Menlo Park,” Calif., adding that he will stay on through the end of the year to “assist with the transition.”
Facebook said it will conduct an outside search to find a replacement for Stretch, and Kurt Wagner of Recode speculated that a potential candidate is already working at the company: deputy general counsel Paul Grewal, who joined Facebook in May 2016 after serving as a magistrate judge in federal court in San Jose, Calif.