Facebook: two top executives to leave company

Daniel Fowler
March 15, 2019

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.

After CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, Cox is the third highest-ranking executive at Facebook, representing the engineering and product sides of the company. Instead, the managers of Facebook's apps - which include the flagship Facebook app, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp - will report directly to Zuckerberg.

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.

While Cox gave no specific reason for his move, he noted that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled a new direction away from being the "digital town square" to focus on smaller-scale, private interactions. The leadership shakeup coincides with Facebook's recently-announced efforts to become a more privacy-focused platform. Fidji Simo, who has worked on Facebook's video startegy, will be in charge of the Facebook app, but won't have the VP of Product title Cox did.

Neither Cox nor Zuckerberg specified what led to their split.

Teenage climate activist nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
National politicians, worldwide officials, academics and previous winners are among those who can nominate potential recipients. Greta's weekly protests have also sparked similar events in Germany, Australia , Japan, Belgium, and France.

Forrester analyst Jessica Liu said it sounded like Cox was "subtly disagreeing" with Zuckerberg's privacy memo, based on Cox's farewell post.

Zuckerberg phrased that more delicately, noting that "We both realized we had too much important work to do to improve our products for society".

These two departures come on the heels of founding-executive departures at Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp past year. Longtime Facebook executive Will Cathcart will head up WhatsApp. Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, WhatApp's Brian Acton and Jan Koum and Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey have also departed.

"This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through", he wrote, signaling that he wasn't "excited" about it himself. It's a huge job for Zuckerberg and all the leaders of Facebook's apps, so it's not going to be an easy job for anyone involved.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER