Colin Stretch, Facebook’s top lawyer and the man who led Facebook’s investigation into Russian election interference efforts following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, is leaving the company.
Stretch, who has been at Facebook since 2010, posted on Tuesday that he’s planning to leave the social giant but will stay on until the end of the year to help find his replacement.
“There is never a ‘right time’ for a transition like this, but the team and the company boast incredible talent and will navigate this well,” Stretch wrote. “I am committed to doing my part to assist with the transition and will stay on through the end of the year.” Stretch, who lives in Washington, D.C., added that Facebook needs “sustained leadership in Menlo Park,” something that’s hard to provide from the East Coast.
Stretch’s departure comes during a stressful time for Facebook’s legal team. Not only is the company still grappling with the role it played in the 2016 U.S. election — Russia used to platform to try and divide U.S. voters with inflammatory and inaccurate posts — but it’s also gearing up for the 2018 midterms, and company executives have been open in saying that they expect foreign governments might try again to sway voters.
Facebook is also under federal investigation by numerous government agencies, including the FTC, the FBI and the Department of Justice. That investigation has to do with Cambridge Analytica and how Facebook handled the fact that an outside researcher collected and sold data on as many as 87 million users without their permission.