In a surprise move, Neuman has left his job as mascot of Mad Magazine to take on the challenge of running Facebook in Thailand. He explained that Mad magazine was not the lunatic organization it used to be and that Facebook in Thailand was the truly insane sort of thing he was looking for.
Facebook had hired Sarawak Headhunters Inc. to find the new executive. They found two candidates Neuman and John Wagner from Boston Consulting. Apparently Zuckerberg favored Wagner but during the final face to face interview he could not tell the two apart, so Neuman ended up getting the job.
The relationship between Facebook and the Thai government will be crucial. When asked about the Facebook Eight, Neuman said he thought that eight was quite good but he hoped to increase the number of Facebook users to ten by the end of the year.
Neuman intends to increase staff size and indicated that Doraemon might soon be joining his team.
The real story from Mumbrella:
Facebook hires Boston Consulting executive John Wagner as first Thailand country manager
Facebook has announced the appointment of its first country head for the Thai market, hiring an executive from the consulting sector to lead the social network out of Bangkok.
John Wagner leaves his role as partner and MD with Boston Consulting Group to take top job at Thailand where Facebook launched an office a year ago to monetise its 42 million-strong user base.
Wagner, who has lived in Thailand since the 1990s, said one of Facebook’s ambitions for the Thai market was to help businesses “tap into the power of mobile to help them grow domestically and abroad.”
He brings 20 years of experience to the role, including stints at Citi where he was an analysts and Monitor Group, where he led development of consumer and market insights.
The recruitment process appears to have taken some time, with regional boss Dan Neary saying in September 2015 that the company was on the verge of hiring the right person for the country manager job. The Thai operation has been supported from the Southeast Asia team in Singapore since launch.
Thailand was among the first countries globally to rollout Facebook’s Shop section, a feature that enables businesses to showcase their products on their page.
Thailand is also an interesting market in that 95% of Facebook users in Thailand do so with mobile devices, and nearly twice as many Thais send Facebook messages to businesses each month compared to the global average.