Page 3 Profile: Nicola Mendelsohn, Executive

 

Why is she in the news?

Successful, driven and respected in the advertising and media worlds, Mendelsohn, 41, was yesterday given the helm of Facebook Europe. The appointment marks the meteoric rise of one of Britain’s most successful businesswomen.

She graduated from the University of Leeds with an English and drama degree, went on to be featured by industry commentators as one the “top 35 women under 35” before becoming the first female president of advertising’s professional body, the IPA. She was executive chair man of advertising agency Karmarama before being named Facebook’s Vice-President for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Sounds like a high-flyer?

But she is notable for another reason as well – her insistence on working a four-day week. As such, her appointment could cause a stir as Silicon Valley continues to debate the work-life balance of a famously competitive and infamously antisocial industry.

Throughout her career, Mendelsohn has said flexible working hours are vital for motivating women with families. “The industry has to more readily welcome back its best women and that means offering more flexible working,” the mother of four has said previously.

“That’s not a sign of weakness. It’s just a way of retaining and motivating your best people. I would much rather hire a talented woman on four days a week than lose her forever.”

What do other execs think?

Well Yahoo! chief Marissa Meyer caused controversy recently when she told all employees to commute into the office for work or quit.

“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” was the message sent to staff. “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

But Ms Mendelsohn’s Facebook bosses are delighted with their new hire. Carolyn Everson, Vice-President of global marketing solutions at the internet giant, said: “I could not be more thrilled. She brings outstanding leadership and passion. It’s testament to Facebook’s innovative role in business and advertising that we’re able to welcome a leader with such great experience.”

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