Facebook's chief product officer and head of Whatsapp are leaving

  • Facebook's chief product officer and head of Whatsapp are leaving

Facebook's chief product officer and head of Whatsapp are leaving

Facebook said Thursday its chief product officer Chris Cox was leaving the company, becoming the highest-ranking executive to depart amid the turmoil at the leading social network.

Zuckerberg said in a Thursday blog post that chief product officer Chris Cox - who joined the social network in 2005 when it was still in its infancy - was leaving to "do something else". It isn't clear what future plans the executives have. Zuckerberg wrote that Cox considered leaving years ago to pursue new projects, but he made a decision to stay in 2016, around the time Facebook began taking heat for acting as a conduit for misinformation and Russian election interference.

In a blog post, Zuckerberg said that Cox had been mulling an exit from Facebook to pursue other projects for "a few years". A big piece of that plan hinges on combining the messaging infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram, and facebook Messenger.

Facebook is not appointing anyone to replace Chris Cox at this time. Instead, the leaders of each app will report to Zuckerberg.

The CEO reiterated that the company is organizing around a "privacy-focused" emphasis on private messaging, which he announced last week.

Numerous changes Zuckerberg outlined involve duplicating some of WhatsApp's features in Facebook's other messaging apps. Both men are long-serving Facebook veterans - Cox was one of Facebook's earliest employees, and Daniels has been with the company since 2011 - and trusted lieutenants of Mark Zuckerberg.

Daniels has been at Facebook almost nine years, and previously led the company's Internet.org effort, a project aimed at bringing internet access to developing countries. Daniels will be replaced by Will Cathcart as the head of WhatsApp, however.

He said the new head of the Facebook-owned application would be Fidji Simo, who was previously in charge of video, games and monetization at Facebook.

Daniels took the helm of WhatsApp after founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton left the messaging app past year, reportedly over disagreements about the increased integration of WhatsApp's operations with Facebook's.