Kara Swisher

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Facebook’s General Counsel Ullyot to Depart the Company

TWU FB Bio Photo-feature

Facebook’s top lawyer Ted Ullyot is leaving the social networking giant, apparently to take some time off.

Facebook disclosed the departure today. Ullyot, 45, will be officially gone in July; the search for his replacement will include internal and external candidates.

As general counsel, Ullyot has presided over a myriad of new, unusual and sometimes controversial legal issues, including managing high-stakes and complex litigation that ranged from Facebook’s battle with the Winklevoss twins, to a patent fight with Yahoo to investor disgruntlement around its initial public offering.

And, of course, over privacy issues. In many ways, given the Silicon Valley company’s pioneering role in social networking, Ullyot has had to work in a relatively undiscovered landscape, which has also attracted a great deal of scrutiny from consumers, regulators and investors.

He started in the fall of 2008, and has managed all the legal aspects of the company and built up the team from 10 when Facebook was a startup to more than 70 as a public company. In that time, Facebook has grown from 500 people to 5,000 and from 100 million to over one billion active users.

It has certainly been a ride for him, from beating back the Winklevii over their allegations related to the founding of Facebook to settling the patent dispute with Yahoo to handling the Federal Trade Commission investigation and more.

It is not clear what he will do next, but sources said he does not have another job lined up as of yet.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald