Facebook Stock Dips in After-Hours Trading After Latest Executive Departures

Darnell Taylor
March 15, 2019

Zuckerberg said Cox first mentioned he might leave a few years ago, but made a decision to stay on after 2016 as evidence emerged that Russians had manipulated Facebook's services to provoke discord in the US and influence the election won by President Donald Trump.

"While it is sad to lose such great people, this also creates opportunities for more great leaders who are energized about the path ahead to take on new and bigger roles", Zuckerberg said.

Cox, a longtime employee who was responsible for overseeing Facebook's family of apps, noted in his own Facebook post that the company is "turning a new page" in its product direction, focused on an encrypted, interoperable, messaging network.

The news of Cox's departure comes a week after Zuckerberg announced a new "privacy-focused" mission for Facebook that will emphasise private messaging over public sharing.

Chris Cox, the chief product officer who was considered to be a close friend of Mr Zuckerberg, and Chris Daniels, the head of WhatsApp, are departing. Instead, the managers of Facebook's apps - which include the flagship Facebook app, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp - will report directly to Zuckerberg.

"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.

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Daniels, meanwhile, headed up WhatsApp since co-founder Jan Koum's departure in April.

The departures of Cox and Daniels come a day after a technical issue that limited use of Facebook and Instagram for most of Wednesday. "This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through".

However, the latest exits are potentially more troubling, as Mr Cox and Mr Daniels were members of Mr Zuckerberg's tight-knit group of allies.

Will Cathcart, vice president of product management, will now lead WhatsApp, and Head of Video, Games and Monetization Fidji Simo will be the new head of the Facebook app, Zuckerberg said.

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

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