Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

Top Facebook executive Chris Cox and WhatsApp VP Chris Daniels quit

Top Facebook executive Chris Cox and WhatsApp VP Chris Daniels quit

Recently, Zuckerberg outlined plans to transform Facebook into a "privacy-focused platform".

Facebook's top executive in charge of all products, Chris Cox, the longtime confidant of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is leaving the company, the highest-level departure at the social media giant amid almost two years of sustained crises. He was named head of WhatsApp in the same reorganisation in May 2018, after the departure of WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum.

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. Less than a year ago, he was put in charge of all of Facebook's apps, including its flagship social media site as well as Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

The loss of Chris Cox will be the biggest blow to CEO Mark Zuckerberg who counts Cox as a long-term friend, after he joined Facebook way back in 2005 as one of its first employees. "He believes deeply in providing end-to-end encryption to everyone in the world across our services", Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post, welcoming Will Cathcart as the new head of WhatsApp. "This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through", he wrote.

In a note to employees published Thursday, Zuckerberg took his usual noncommittal stance, stating that Cox had been integral to Facebook's success and he appreciates "his deep empathy for the people using our services and the uplifting spirit he brings to everything he does". In the meantime, Zuckerberg has asked all of the heads of each of the company's products to report directly to him.

The steady loss of executive talent come amid a painful two year period Facebook has been vilified for abusing user privacy and summoned to testify about the prevalence of fake news and unsafe political ads on its sites.

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Perhaps even stronger was contribution she made on this issue during her TED talk referred to earlier. I am so, so, so grateful for what you are doing, I can't put it into words.

"I'm sad to share the news that Chris Cox has made a decision to leave the company".

Following the departure of senior executives such as the Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Zuckerberg said the company's chief product officer, Chris Cox, was headed for the door after 13 years.

Daniels has been at Facebook almost nine years, and previously led the company's Internet.org effort, a project aimed at bringing internet access to developing countries.

Zuckerberg was similarly vague about Daniels, extolling his merits and what he has done at the company, but not giving any reason for his sudden departure.

Zuckerberg still has a number of long-time product and engineering lieutenants.

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