Big changes at Facebook: Chief product officer Chris Cox, WhatsApp VP Chris Daniels leave company

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday that the company’s chief product officer Chris Cox is leaving. Also leaving is WhatsApp VP Chris Daniels. With these executive departures, Will Cathcart, who previously led the Facebook app will now oversee WhatsApp, and Fidji Simo will move from her role overseeing Facebook’s video product to lead the Facebook app.

Why you should care

The departure of two top-level executives at Facebook further underscores the company is undergoing major, tumultuous changes in the wake of two straight years of numerous privacy, data, measurement and disinformation scandals. Whether the executive departures are connected to Facebook’s decision shift focus from public sharing to messaging as it works to connect the back ends of its messaging services is unknown.

In the announcement, Zuckerberg said Cox, who has been with Facebook since 2005, had discussed his exit with Zuckerberg for a few years now.

“He [Cox] is one of the most talented people I know and he has the potential to do anything he wants. But after 2016, we both realized we had too much important work to do to improve our products for society, and he stayed to help us work through these issues and help us chart a course for our family of apps going forward,” wrote Zuckerberg.

During the last year, Facebook has seen a steady stream of executives depart following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, including its chief security officer Alex Stamos, head of communications and public policy Elliot Schrage, WhatsApp founder and CEO Jan Koum and more recently, Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.

Last May, Facebook underwent a major reorganization that placed Chris Cox in charge of Facebook’s family of apps team and Chris Daniels in charge of WhatsApp. Now, less than a year out from that reorg, both of these executives are out.

More on the news

  • Zuckerberg said he does not plan on hiring anyone to fill Chris Cox’s chief product officer role.
  • Fidji Simo, Will Cathcart, Adam Mosseri (who oversees Instagram ) and Stan Chudnovsky (who oversees Messenger) will report directly to Zuckerberg. Facebook’s chief marketing officer Antonio Lucio will report to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO.
  • Javier Olivan, who has been overseeing all of the central product services for Facebook’s family of apps team, will now be in charge of identifying where apps should be more integrated.

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