Facebook's Chief Product Officer and Head of WhatsApp Just Left the Company
15 March, 2019, 04:13 | Author: Regina Silva
In fixing all the problems, CEO Mark Zuckerberg will now have to do without a key lieutenant who was once seen as a possible successor.
Cox's exit marks a huge upheaval in the company's executive suite. These apps have been distinct until recently, when Zuckerberg announced plans to unify them under a banner of/with a new focus on privacy. A big piece of that plan hinges on combining the messaging infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram, and facebook Messenger. Zuckerberg is also promising to make photos and posts automatically disappear from public view.
Cox, who grew up in Winnetka and graduated from New Trier in 2000, has been with Facebook since the company's early days.
In his blog post, Zuckerberg said that Cox had told him that he planned to move on several years ago, but that Cox chose to hold off on leaving until the company made more progress combating misinformation and Russian meddling - controversies that erupted in the wake of the 2016 election.
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"Since we have now decided on the basic direction of our family of apps for the next few years, I do not plan on immediately appointing anyone to fill Chris's role in the near term", Zuckerberg wrote.
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".
Cox's departure comes as Facebook is under fire on a number of fronts. The shakeup is the second major management restructuring in as many years as the company also faces a number of controversies related to user privacy and fake news on its services.
Longtime Facebook executive Will Cathcart will now lead WhatsApp. He will be replaced by Will Cathcart. In a note to employees about Cox's departure, Zuckerberg said Cox had been talking to him for a few years about doing something else but chose to stay after 2016 to help improve the social network. Fidji Simo, vice president of video, games, and monetization, will become the new head of the Facebook app. That path will determine whether Facebook can fix its tarnished image or continue to suffer a steady drip of unflattering headlines and rack up more executive departures.
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