Facebook just hired a top lawyer from ViacomCBS as the social-media giant's first chief compliance officer

Henry Moniz, Facebook's chief compliance officer.

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The top compliance official at ViacomCBS is moving to Facebook, Insider has learned.

Henry Moniz, who held senior compliance roles at Viacom starting in 2004 and, upon its merger with CBS Corp in 2019, became the chief compliance officer and chief audit executive of the combined company, will join Facebook on Feb. 8. He’ll report to Jennifer Newstead, the company’s general counsel, and to the audit and risk oversight committee of Facebook’s board of directors. The chief compliance officer role is a newly created one at the social-media giant. 

The social-media company said he has experience building and leading compliance and audit units from his time at ViacomCBS. He reported to ViacomCBS’s CEO Bob Bakish on compliance matters and to the audit committee of the board on the independence of its auditors, according to an SEC filing.

Facebook has been under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers and is facing legal threats over its role in online discourse and its position in the advertising market.

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CBS and Viacom have been in the legal hot seat before, though Moniz’s name hasn’t been publicly tied to any of it. The family of Sumner Redstone, the late media magnate who was a controlling shareholder in both companies, was embroiled in litigation over control of the company for several years, and Les Moonves, CBS’ longtime CEO, was removed from his post in 2018 after he was accused of sexual harassment.

Compliance can touch on a wide variety of laws, from insider-trading programs to COVID-19 safety protocols and tax matters. Another important area for media companies and for Facebook is online privacy, which is regulated by a patchwork of state, federal, and foreign laws that are evolving as consumers and lawmakers focus on companies’ use of personal data.

“We are going beyond just solving problems — we are using our knowledge of risk to find opportunities,” Moniz said in a 2016 interview where he described the evolution of compliance roles. 

In the US, Facebook has faced probes and litigation over user data and competition matters from the Federal Trade Commission — to which it paid a $5 billion settlement last year — and state attorneys general. In August, Irish data protection officials issued a draft decision that found Facebook’s use of European user data ran afoul of the GDPR, though the company has appealed and said it had “alternative legal bases for data transfers.”

Facebook has also expanded into payments and digital assets with the creation of Libra, a cryptocurrency now called Diem, areas that are also undergoing rapid regulatory change.

“Henry is a seasoned compliance leader with an impressive record of providing strategic compliance and legal risk guidance at the board of directors and executive management level,” said Facebook’s GC Jennifer Newstead in a statement. “Henry will play a key role in driving our ongoing commitment to continually strengthen our global compliance and risk management functions.”

Moniz also recently took a position on the board of Kimco Realty Corp., a real-estate investment trust that invests in shopping centers. Earlier in his career, he was a federal prosecutor in Boston and Miami, worked for Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and became a partner at the defunct law firm Bingham McCutcheon.

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