Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Two top Facebook execs are leaving the company

Two top Facebook execs are leaving the company

Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and Chris Daniels, who heads messaging app WhatsApp, are departing.

"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.

Cox, the 36-year-old Zuckerberg lieutenant managing his vision for the Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp services, said in a blog he made the announcement "with great sadness".

Cox, who dropped out of a Stanford University graduate degree program to work with Zuckerberg when the company had just 15 engineers, was widely seen as one of the most popular and capable executives at the social network - and a potential replacement CEO, were Zuckerberg to leave.

In his blog post, Zuckerberg said that Cox had told him several years ago that he planned to move on, but that Cox chose to hold off on leaving until the company made more progress combating misinformation and Russian interference - controversies that erupted in the wake of the 2016 election. The company announced it's planning to shift its focus towards privacy and protecting users' information, something it has failed to do in recent times. In a memo to employees, Zuckerberg suggested the events were linked.

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Cox's departure removes a layer of management, bringing Zuckerberg closer to a family of apps that he wants to make compatible.

"This is an important change as we begin the next chapter of our work building the privacy-focused social foundation of the future", Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a statement.

The departures follow the resignations of Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and WhatsApp's co-founder Jan Koum previous year.

Cox's departure comes as Facebook is under fire on a number of fronts. He did point out Facebook is "turning a new page" by focusing more on messaging and encryption. Daniels will be replaced by Will Cathcart as the head of WhatsApp, however.

Originally published March 14, 1:19 p.m. Update, 1:48 p.m.: Includes more background and Zuckerberg's post to employees; 1:55 p.m.: Adds background about other executive departures; 2:15 p.m.: Includes post from Chris Cox.

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