Two Top Executives Leave Facebook – Including Zuckerberg’s Right Hand Man Chris Cox

Image: Facebook

Two top Facebook execs will leave the company a week after the social media platform laid out plans to reposition itself as a “privacy-focused” social network. The departing execs are Chris Cox, most recently its chief product officer, and Chris Daniels, who was in charge of WhatsApp.

“While it is sad to lose such great people, this also creates opportunities for more great leaders who are energized about the path ahead to take on new and bigger roles,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and CEO, wrote in a note announcing the departures.

Cox joined Facebook in 2005 shortly after it launched, and has been referred to as Zuckerberg’s right-hand man. Last year, as part of a reorganization Cox was appointed to lead Facebook’s “family of apps,” including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

 
 

Cox played a key role on several Facebook products, including News Feed, and at one point was the head of human resources.

According to MSNBC, one ex-employee, who asked not to be named, Cox was viewed by many as “the heart and soul of the Facebook mission at the company.”

According to an internal post, Cox announced Facebook’s plans to put privacy first by emphasizing private, encrypted and ephemeral conversations across its products.

 
 

“As Mark has outlined, we are turning a new page in our product direction,” he wrote in a post on his personal Facebook page. “This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through

Daniels took the lead on WhatsApp less than a year ago after WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum quit as CEO after reportedly not seeing eye-to-eye with Facebook’s approach to personal data and encryption.

The departures are part of a growing list of executive departures over a two year period in which Facebook has faced in criticism and scrutiny for its data privacy practices, user election meddling, and fake news distribution.

Incoming Leadership

In his note, Zuckerberg expressed regret at the departures while naming Will Cathcart as the new head of WhatsApp and Fidji Simo as head of Facebook app.

I’m excited that Will Cathcart will be the new head of WhatsApp. Will is one of the most talented leaders at our company — always focused on solving the most important problems for people and clear-eyed about the challenges and tradeoffs we face.

Most recently he has done a great job running the Facebook app, where he has led our shift to focusing on meaningful social interactions and has significantly improved the performance and reliability of the app. In his career here, Will has helped lead our teams focused on security and integrity, and he believes deeply in providing end-to-end encryption to everyone in the world across our services.

I’m also excited that Fidji Simo will be the new head of the Facebook app. She is one of our most talented product and organizational leaders — passionate about building community and supporting creativity, and focused on building strong teams and developing future leaders.”

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