Last Thursday (March.14th), Facebook announced the departure of two key executives, chief officer Chris Cox and WhatsApp vice president Chris Daniels.
Cox’s and Daniels’ departure comes during a time when Facebook continues to face intense scrutiny from governments around the world for its data sharing practices.
Cox, one of the Zuckerberg’s earliest employees and most loyal lieutenants, said in a blog post that his departure came “with great sadness”.
The 13-year Facebook veteran did not mention why he is leaving, but he hints that it might have been inspired by CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recently-announced plan to transform Facebook into a more privacy-focused platform.
“As Mark has outlined, we are turning a new page in our product direction, focused on an encrypted, interoperable, messaging network… This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through,” Cox said in a Facebook post.
“Embarking on this new vision represents the start of a new chapter for us,” Zuckerberg wrote in a note to employees. “While it is sad to lose such great people, this also creates opportunities for more great leaders who are energised about the path ahead to take on new and bigger roles.”
Mark Zuckerberg said that he does not plan to hire someone to fill Cox’s job. Instead, what will happen is that the head of Facebook’s various apps including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, will report directly to him.
With Daniels departure, WhatsApp will be led by Will Cathcart, who led the Facebook app in 2016.
“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,” Zuckerberg wrote in his note.
Fidji Simo, the head of video, games, and monetisation, will be the new head of the Facebook app, Zuckerberg wrote in his note.
A number of high-profile leaders at Facebook have left in recent years, as the company continues to fight back against its critics. Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigned in September, while WhatsApp founder Jan Koum left last April.