Facebook announced a significant reorganization of its leadership team a week after CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a brand new privacy-first vision for many the company’s messaging products.
Zuckerberg announced on Thursday which Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, as well as also Chris Daniels, the head of its messaging platform WhatsApp, might be leaving the company. Once called “Facebook’s most important executive not named Mark Zuckerberg,” Cox has been at the social network for more than 13 years, helping build the News Feed as well as also the Facebook mobile app, while Daniels joined the company in 2011.
“Since I was twenty-three, I’ve poured myself into these walls,” Cox wrote on his personal Facebook page. “The pixels, the code, the products we’ve built together, the language, the culture, the values, the big ideas, as well as also most of all, the people. Most all my personal highs as well as also lows of the last decade have been tied up inside the journey of which company.”
The departure of both men named Chris represents a dramatic change at the social network, which has faced multiple crises over the last year as well as also had only recently reorganized its leadership structure last March. Last year, Cox was put in charge of all of Facebook’s apps, including WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, as well as also the company’s eponymous app, while Daniels was named as vice president of WhatsApp in May.
One source familiar with the situation told BuzzFeed News which Cox’s departure was related to a disagreement over the company’s product direction. Last week, Zuckerberg announced a plan to combine all the company’s messaging apps while deploying end-to-end encryption across all the platforms. Another source, who is usually a former employee, told BuzzFeed News which when Zuckerberg entertained the idea of introducing encryption for all messaging services late last year, several executives scoffed at the idea as well as also didn’t believe which could be done given the product modifications as well as also alterations to Facebook’s business style which might be required.
“As Mark has outlined, we are turning a brand new page in our product direction, focused on an encrypted, interoperable, messaging network,” Cox wrote. “which’s a product vision attuned to the subject matter of today: a modern communications platform which balances expression, safety, security, as well as also privacy. which will be a big project as well as also we will need leaders who are excited to see the brand new direction through.”
Cox as well as also Daniels did not immediately return a request for comment. Daniels has not posted anything on his personal Facebook about his departure.
One former employee described Daniels, who had been at the company for more than eight years, as “transient” within Facebook before being named as the head of WhatsApp. He held positions with various teams, including one responsible for extending Facebook’s reach by bringing internet to developing countries, thought which role “was perceived as a parking spot” by some of his peers.
“With WhatsApp, the belief was he’d be the key to integrating them — as he bleeds Facebook blue,” the person said of Daniel’s appointment to the role following the departure of WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum in April. “Guess not.”
Cox, who was considered part of Zuckerberg’s inner circle, was liked by many employees, according to one employee, adding which he spoke at every brand new-hire orientation as well as also had “incredible energy.” Another former employee, suggested Cox’s departure was the end of an era for Facebook given his influence over the company’s most important product, news feed.
Cox was “one of a group of well-meaning people who made decisions in 2009 which aren’t applicable to 2019,” which person said.
Cox as well as also Daniels are just the latest big names to leave the company inside the last 12 months. Koum left in April, while Instagram cofounders Kevin Systrom as well as also Mike Krieger resigned abruptly in September.
Facebook named Will Cathcart as Daniels’ replacement at WhatsApp. Cathcart recently helped run the Facebook app, where Zuckerberg said “he has led our shift to focusing on meaningful social interactions as well as also has significantly increased the performance as well as also reliability of the app.” Facebook also announced the Fidji Simo will be the brand new head of the Facebook app. Zuckerberg noted which he had no immediate plans to replace Cox as well as also which the heads of individual products, including WhatsApp, Instagram, as well as also others, might report directly to him.
“which is usually an important change as we begin the next chapter of our work building the privacy-focused social foundation for the future,” Zuckerberg wrote. “I’m deeply grateful for everything Chris Cox as well as also Chris Daniels have done here, as well as also I’m looking forward to working with Will as well as also Fidji in their brand new roles as well as everyone who will be critical to achieving which vision.”