Days after the announcement of what he said would mean a major change in strategy, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes more big moves by rearranging his executive team.
Zuckerberg says that product head Chris Cox, seen by many people on Facebook as the second most powerful company director, leaves the company after 13 years. There is also Chris Daniels, who has managed Facebook's WhatsApp messaging service.
Zuckerberg described both movements as one of his own executives. But in a memo announcing the changes, Zuckerberg also said that both rooms were somehow related to the company's decision to develop the privacy-oriented social platform that he described last week.
The movements will resound on and off Facebook – both because Cox was a key figure for Zuckerberg for years, and because the move comes less than a year after another reorganization, which had given Cox even more strength by having all the major Facebook app report teams to him.
Due to many accounts, that organizational structure had frustrated a number of other important Facebook managers, including Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who announced their departure last fall.
Now Zuckerberg is restructuring the company again. Instead of fulfilling the role of Cox, he lets top executives report directly to him with each of his apps. Two other long-term managers will receive promotions as part of the change: Cathcart will run WhatsApp and Fidji Simo, who has led Facebook video production in recent years, will be the head of that group.
Below is the text of the Zuckerberg memo describing the changes, and here is a link to the message from Cox announcing his move.
Hi everyone – I want to share some important updates as we organize our business to build the privacy-focused social platform that I discussed in my note last week. The start of a new chapter for us is the start of this new vision.
As part of this, I am sad to share the news that Chris Cox has decided to leave the company. Chris and I have worked closely together to build our products for more than a decade and I will always appreciate his deep empathy for the people who use our services and the uplifting spirit he brings to everything he does. He has played so many leading roles on Facebook – he started as an engineer on our original news feed, built our first HR teams and helped define our mission and values, led our product and design teams, led the Facebook app and most recently overseeing on the strategy for our family of apps. Along the way, Chris helped educate many great leaders who now play an important role throughout the company – including some who will now play a greater role in our new product efforts.
Chris has been discussing his desire to do something else for a few years. He is one of the most talented people I know and he has the potential to do whatever he wants. But after 2016, we both realized that we had too much important work to do to improve our products for society, and he continued to help us solve these problems and help us chart a course for our app family in the future. We have made great progress in this regard and have a clear plan for our apps, focusing on creating private messages, stories and groups as the basis for the experience, including the coding and interoperability of all our services. As we begin this next important chapter, Chris has decided that it is now time to step back to lead these teams. I will really miss Chris, but most of the time I am very grateful for everything he has done to build this place and serve our community.
At the same time, as we begin this new chapter, Chris Daniels has also decided to leave the company. Chris has also done a lot of work in many roles, including running our business development team, leading Internet.org, with which more than 100 million people have access to the internet and most recently at WhatsApp, where he helped with the define the business model for our messaging service in the future. Chris is one of the clearest and most principled business thinkers I have met and the variety of challenges with which he has helped us is impressive. I really enjoyed working with Chris and I am sure he will do a great job with everything he chooses next.
Although it is sad to lose such great people, it also creates opportunities for more great leaders who are energetic about the path that lies ahead of them to take on new and bigger roles.
I am pleased that Will Cathcart will be the new head of WhatsApp. Will is one of the most talented leaders in our company – always focused on solving the most important problems for people and clear eyes on the challenges and considerations that we face. Recently he did a fantastic job with the Facebook app, where he led our shift to focus on meaningful social interactions and significantly improved the performance and reliability of the app. In his career here, Will has helped our teams focus on security and integrity, and he strongly believes in providing end-to-end encryption to everyone in the world in all our services.
I am also excited that Fidji Simo will be the new head of the Facebook app. She is one of our most talented leaders in products and organizations – passionate about building a community and supporting creativity, and focused on building strong teams and developing future leaders. She has played important roles in building many aspects of the Facebook app, including leading our work on video and advertising. She deeply believes in helping people get more value from the networks they have built. She has led this team most of last year, while Will was on parental leave and she is the clear person to lead these efforts in the future.
Our family of apps strategy was jointly led by Chris Cox and Javier Olivan. Chris managed the leaders of the apps directly and Javi was responsible for all the central product services that work in our apps, including safety and integrity, analysis, growth and advertising. Javi will now determine where our apps should be better integrated. Javi is an incredibly thoughtful, strategic and analytical leader, and I am convinced that this work will continue to go well. Since we have now chosen the basic guidelines of our family of apps for the coming years, I have no intention of immediately appointing someone to act as Chris in the short term. Instead, Facebook (Fidji Simo), Instagram (Adam Mosseri), Messenger (Stan Chudnovsky) and WhatsApp (Will Cathcart) leaders will report directly to me, and our Chief Marketing Officer (Antonio Lucio) will report directly to Sheryl.
This is an important change, as we are starting the next chapter of our work to build the privacy-oriented social foundation for the future. I am deeply grateful for everything Chris Cox and Chris Daniels have done here, and I look forward to working with Will and Fidji in their new roles and with everyone who will be critical to achieving this vision. We have so much important work ahead of me and I am excited to continue working to empower people to build community and bring the world closer together.