House of Mendelsohn: Jon Joins Lords, Nicola Leads Facebook to Israel
by Joshua Levitt
This has been a big week for the Mendelsohns of London, what with Jon being introduced to the House of Lords Wednesday, and Nicola bringing Facebook to the Jewish state on Monday with a $150 million acquisition and a deal to open Facebook’s first overseas R&D center.
At his introduction into the House of Lords, two Jewish “introducers,” Lord Levy and Lord Janner accompanied the newly minted Lord Mendelsohn of Finchley, the London neighborhood where the power couple live and attend Finchley United shul, which he chairs.
A lobbyist, Lord Mendelsohn ran LLM Communications for 10 years before being bought out by communications and public relations giant Financial Dynamics, later FTI Consulting. Before creating LLM, he was the Policy and Communications Adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, working under chief fundraiser Lord Levy. After selling his company and leaving FTI, he served as Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s chief fundraiser, and then was appointed Assistant Treasurer of the Labour Party. He is also on the International Advisory Board of The Harold Hartog School of Government & Policy at Tel Aviv University.
While the Lord was in London, the Lady was in the Levant, actually in Jerusalem, at the official residence of President Shimon Peres, telling the 90-year old Israeli, who launched a new Facebook campaign on Monday, about the company’s plans to pay $150 million for Ramat Gan-based start-up Onavo.
“It was a momentous decision for Facebook to open its first R&D center outside the U.S.,” Nicola Mendelsohn said. Peres, who actually launched his Facebook page from Mark Zuckerberg’s personal computer in Silicon Valley alongside the Facebook founder last year, graciously agreed with her.
“Facebook was amazed by the amount of talent in such a small country like Israel,” she said. “We chose Israel in the knowledge that the best talent is found here.”
Obviously talented herself, Lady Mendelsohn worked her way to be deputy chairman of advertising giant Grey London, where she generated record amounts of new business, before heading the industry’s trade association, the IPA. She then becoming executive chairman of advertising agency Karmarama, from which she left to join Facebook this May.
In the same month that she joined Facebook as VP for Europe, Middle East and Africa, the social media company entered talks to buy Waze, an Israeli mapping app, which cratered when Waze’s team refused to abandon the Jewish state for Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters. Now planning to use Onavo as a local base, while creating the new Facebook R&D center, the Israeli-based computer engineers of the newly acquired company should remain happy.
Lord and Lady Mendelsohn have four children, Gabi, Danny, Sam and Zac.