Facebook appoints first UK regional director

Facebook has ended a year-long search for a UK and Ireland regional director by appointing WPP media agency MEC’s chief executive Steve Hatch into the role as it looks to place the region at the heart of its growth plans.

Steve Hatch Facebook
Facebook UK managing director Steve Hatch

Hatch will be responsible for more than 100 staff and report to EMEA vice president Nicola Mendelsohn.

Facebook’s UK operations were previously led by Stephen Haines who was UK commercial director but was relocated to the social network’s New York offices in June to become global lead for Facebook’s Omnicom network relationship.

When Facebook’s hunt for a UK regional director was first revealed in September 2012, it was thought Haines may be a frontrunner for the role. James Quarles has been leading Facebook’s UK client and agency relationships in the interim.

The UK has been earmarked as one of Facebook’s key regions for revenue growth outside of the US. In April Facebook created a UK marketing advisory board – the first of its type outside the US – as part of its strategy to improve its perception among the marketing community and encourage increased advertising spend. 

In August Facebook revealed its UK daily active user figures for the first time as it looked to address recent “misinformation” from third-party data sources suggesting its users were suffering “Facebook fatigue”. 

Facebook is expected to generate £303m in UK revenue in 2013, up 25 per cent on last year, according to eMarketer. That equates to a 5 per cent share of all digital ad spending in the UK.

The social network will be hoping the appointment of Hatch, a media agency veteran, can help strengthen its relationships with planners and buyers and boost revenue.

Nicola Mendelsohn says: “Steve brings a strong strategic approach and impressive leadership skills to Facebook. His experience will allow him to take forward the existing collaborative approach Facebook has with clients and brands to drive creative results throughout the UK and Ireland. We’re pleased to be welcoming him to Facebook onto the team in EMEA and I am thrilled to be working with him again.”

Hatch became CEO of MEC in February 2011, having been there since its formation as Mediaedge:cia following the merger of The Media Edge and CIA in 1998. MEC counts Morrisons, Lloyds Banking Group, Bacardi, Visa and Paramount among its UK clients.

Prior to joining MEC, Hatch held several planning and strategy roles at Young & Rubicam Group, PHD and DDB throughout the 1990s.

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