Senior Google executive to head up Facebook’s European operations

17 Dec 2008

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Facebook’s spearhead into the EMEA marketplace will be led by the current online sales and operations director of Google’s EMEA business, industry sources have told siliconrepublic.com.

Colm Long, who hails from Northern Ireland, was instrumental in the establishment of Google’s EMEA headquarters in Dublin five years ago.

He will be leaving Google at Christmas to take up his new position with Facebook early in the new year.

In October, social-networking giant Facebook decided to locate its international headquarters in Dublin, in what can only be termed as a prestigious win for Ireland, adding to a jewelled technology crown that includes Google, Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Hewlett-Packard, to name but a few.

The company is to establish an operation that will employ 70 people in the city.

Facebook, for which Microsoft paid US$240m for a 1.6pc stake – valuing the social-networking powerhouse at US$15bn – will make Dublin the centre of its international operations and from there will provide a range of online technical, sales and operations support to Facebook’s users and customers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Long will assume the position of head of online sales and operations in early February.

In his time at Google, he led a team of over 700 people at Google’s EMEA headquarters.

While Facebook has initial plans to employ 70 people in Dublin, in a similar fashion to Google, which now employs 1,500 in total in Dublin, the doyen of the social-networking world could grow its European base considerably in the years to come.

At the time of the location announcement, Facebook chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg – herself a former Google employee, as well as former chief of staff of the US Treasury during Bill Clinton’s presidency – said she was scouring Dublin for suitable headquarters.

Siliconrepublic.com has learned from industry sources that Facebook will most likely settle on a central Dublin headquarters, with the Dublin 4 area now being the most likely target.

By John Kennedy

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com