In surprise announcements, two senior Facebook executives said they are leaving the company just days after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was shifting the direction of the social media giant, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The two executives are Chris Cox, chief product officer and a close confidant of Zuckerberg, and Chris Daniels, head of the firm’s WhatsApp unit.
In his message about the new orientation of the company, Zuckerberg said he wanted to get the company to focus more on privacy in its communications instead of public sharing.
Cox was one of Facebook’s early engineers and was seen by many as a successor to Zuckerberg. His job included overseeing Facebook and the company’s other platforms, Instagram and WhatsApp.
He didn’t say exactly why he was leaving but he did say that the pivot to private messaging would be better off with new leadership.
“This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through,” he wrote. He thanked Zuckerberg for “creating this place, and for the chance to work beside a dear friend for over thirteen years.”
Zuckerberg said he would put individual execs in charge of each platform. Fidji Simo will head the Facebook app, and Will Cathcart is going to be in charge of WhatsApp. They, along with Instagram boss Adam Mosseri, will report to Zuckerberg. The company’s chief marketing officer, Antonio Lucio, will report to COO Sheryl Sandberg. Zuckerberg said Javier Olivan will direct “where our apps should be more integrated.”
Facebook also said it was going to restructure its product team, which it also did previously this year.
In an interview with Harvard Law Professor Jonathan Zittrain in February, Zuckerberg also said he’s “potentially interested” in using blockchain technology for Facebook logins, and that the tech could help the process of allowing access to data by third-party apps.
Facebook has also recently been shoring up its blockchain team, led by David Marcus, who used to be the VP of Messenger. The team is trying to find out how to best use the technology on Facebook. Earlier this month, Facebook acquired Chainspace, a blockchain company that researches the tech and develops smart contracts.