Facebook’s Chief Product Officer and Head of WhatsApp Just Left the Company

Posted on March 14, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Social with 11 Comments

Last week, Facebook announced some major changes for its platform. 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.

And just more than a week later, two of its biggest executives are leaving the company.

Facebook today announced that it’s chief of product, Chris Cox and the head of WhatsApp Chris Daniels are leaving the company. Chris Cox was responsible for Facebook’s flagship apps — including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook itself. Cox started off at Facebook as an engineer working on News Feed, but he later moved on to other parts of the company and became one of the biggest leaders at the company after Mark Zuckerberg.

Chris Cox leaving the company at such an important time is quite a big deal. With Facebook’s culture supposedly changing to focus on privacy, the company is already going through a ton of changes internally and with the head of product leaving at this time, things are going to be quite challenging.

It is also interesting to see the head of WhatsApp Chris Daniels leaving Facebook right now. Considering WhatsApp is a platform already focused on privacy and being one of the only Facebook apps to have end-to-end encryption at this time, it’s quite surprising to see Daniels leaving just a week after Facebook’s privacy-focused announcement. Daniels will be replaced by Will Cathcart as the head of WhatsApp, however. “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.

Facebook is not appointing anyone to replace Chris Cox at this time. Instead, Fidji Simo will be appointed as the new head of the Facebook app. And Simo, along with the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, head of Messenger Stan Chudnovsky, and head of WhatsApp Will Cathcart, 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 for the future. I’m deeply grateful for everything Chris Cox and Chris Daniels have done here, and I’m looking forward to working with Will and Fidji in their new roles as well as everyone who will be critical to achieving this vision,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Once again, Facebook’s shift towards privacy is a big change at the company — both at a technical and cultural level. 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.

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