Facebook installs its UK commercial team

Facebook has put in place its senior executive team in the UK by hiring from online rivals including AOL, Google and Yahoo!.

Media Week has learned that the social network’s executive team contains five high-profile industry figures, who will report to UK commercial director Blake Chandlee. Facebook’s stated policy is that its staff are not handed job titles.

David Parfect, ex-commercial director at WPP’s ad network 24/7 Real Media, has joined Facebook.

He joined 24/7 Real Media two months before WPP bought the firm for $649m in May 2007 and led the company’s search and display advertising efforts.

Parfect was previously group account director at The Search Works and before that was online buying manager at Publicis Groupe agency Zed Media.

Tracy Yaverbaun is also set to join Facebook, having spent more than two years at Time Warner firm AOL, most recently as commercial development manager.

She joined AOL in August 2005, having previously been senior agency executive at outdoor firm Clear Channel.

Google industry manager Derren Sequeira is set to leave the search behemoth for Facebook, Media Week understands, although Google would not confirm his departure. Sequeira currently works in Google’s entertainment division.

The three senior hires are joined by Stephen Haines, ex-head of agency strategy for Yahoo!, and Jon Harvey, formerly Yahoo! group head. Both Haines and Harvey worked under Chandlee at Yahoo!, where Chandlee was commercial director.

Chandlee left Yahoo! last October and was followed shortly after by Haines and Harvey.

Facebook declined to comment on the appointments, but in an interview with Media Week TV that goes live today, Chandlee set out his growth plans for Facebook in the UK.

"My group in the UK will focus on the new Facebook social ads platform, which actually allows brands to become part of the content, to become part of the conversation with consumers," he said.

"Consumers will start to see branded advertising within their news feed that's tied into the actions of their friends and family – their social graph, if you will."

Chandlee added: "We think that consumers act in the form of a trust referral, which is a very powerful way to reach consumers and influence behaviour."

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