In the Tory-blue corner, weighing in at “Baroness”, we have US-born Joanna Shields.
The 52-year-old businesswoman was born in Pennsylvania as the second of five children.
In the not-so-red Facebook corner, weighing in at “Lady”, we have British-born northerner Nicola Mendelsohn – Facebook’s most senior employee outside of the US.
In 2012, after over 20 years in the advertising industry, Mendelsohn joined Facebook to lead the company’s operations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
She has held director and board level roles for a number of large and prestigous organisations, including Women’s Aid, the Creative Industries Council and the Grey Communications Group.
Today, the Leeds University English and theatre studies graduate works under Mark Zuckerberg from but it’s understood that the mother of four is constantly travelling around the expansive region she oversees, to the extent where she has to plan her diary a year ahead.
Someone who works for Facebook may not instantly strike you as the most powerful person but when you look a little closer there’s probably a case to be made.
With a , Facebook is now one of the richest companies in the world, and the EMEA region overseen by Mendelsohn plays a significant part in that success.
Further, Facebook has its fingers in a number of pies, from advancing drone technologies and delivering internet to the world’s entire population through internet.org, to developing new artificial intelligence.
So, now you’ve had the spiel, let’s get back to the issue of who is the most “powerful”. It’s always a tough question given there are so many definitions of what constitutes power. But let’s have a go anyway.
Well, when it comes to shaping policy, it’s likely that Shields, whose office in Number 9 Downing Street, will have the upper hand in driving forward new legislation. This could involve everything from what the next generation are taught at school through to how much tax Silicon Valley companies pay on their UK profits.
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