Facebook finds successor for GC role as Ted Ullyot departs

Social networking giant Facebook has named deputy general counsel Colin Stretch as vice president and general counsel, taking over from former legal boss Ted Ullyot.

Stretch will take up the role from July 5 after Ullyot, an ex-Kirkland and Ellis partner who worked in the White House until 2005 and became Facebook’s first general counsel in 2008, outlined his intentions to leave in May.

Like Ullyot and 29-year old Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Stretch also studied at Harvard, joining Facebook from Washington DC-based Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel in 2010.

Since then he has worked on a range of high-profile cases for the company, serving as lead negotiator for the company’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 and leading the appellate victory in the high-profile Winklevoss case. His new role hands him the most senior job within Facebook’s legal team.   

In a statement Stretch said the role offers “awesome” responsibility with a talented group of lawyers. He added: “Helping advance Facebook’s mission of connecting the world is at the center of our team’s work, and I look forward to the opportunity this new role represents.”

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, said: “Colin has been an instrumental leader on the Facebook legal team and has earned the trust and confidence of management, the Board of Directors and our entire company.”

It is not clear why Ullyot decided to leave the business as he is not thought to be taking up a new position. During his time at Facebook he led the business through its long-awaited IPO, in which US firms Fenwick & West and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett won key roles (2 April 2012); settled a high-profile patent spat with Yahoo! (10 July 2012), represented by Cooley and WilmerHale; and ended a legal fight with the Winklevoss twins after they claimed Zuckerberg stole their idea for the social network.

Facebook’s best legal friends include Fenwick & West for corporate, Cooley for privacy and patents and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher for litigation.