UPDATE 12:00: We got you. This is the AdNews April Fool prank. Thanks to Facebook and Ritson for playing along. Mark Ritson is still adjunct professor at Melbourne Business School and Facebook is still looking for a managing director to replace Scheeler.
Facebook has named Mark Ritson as managing director of the Australian business, AdNews can reveal.
The surprise move represents a u-turn from Ritson on digital.
The top gig at Facebook Australia has been open since February when former MD Stephen Scheeler exited suddenly. He had been in the role 18 months.
Ritson has repeatedly made headlines for his outspoken and often scathing commentary around Facebook, its business model and “dodgy” metrics in digital.
Last year at an AANA lecture series, Ritson described digital media and marketing as a “tsunami of horseshit” and regularly calls bullshit on the metrics and the numbers it reports.
The former professor and brand consultant tells AdNews: "Obviously it's a big surprise for the industry and a huge personal move for me but I'm excited about he challenge ahead.
"At first when they approached me I was unsure if this was the right move for me. But I talked it over with a lot of people in the industry and then, crucially, looked at the data Facebook showed me about the salary and benefits package, which I was assured had been inflated, and almost immediately thought 'yup, this will do'.
“Clearly, my stance on digital marketing is very clear. And that won't change as I start my new role. I continue to see digital as the only viable way to build brands and Facebook is the optimum approach within digital. This has been my consistent point of view for years and it won't change with my new role.”
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