Facebook loses two of its top execs

Facebook loses two of its top execs
CNN video

Facebook is losing two of its top execs a week after laying out plans to reposition itself as a “privacy-focused” social network.

Facebook announced Thursday that Chris Cox, most recently its chief product officer, and Chris Daniels, who was in charge of WhatsApp, are both leaving the company.

Shares of Facebook dipped as much as 2% in after hours trading Thursday following the news.

“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,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s cofounder and CEO, wrote in a note announcing the departures.

Cox, in particular, has been a longtime fixture at the company and Zuckerberg’s right-hand man. He joined Facebook in 2005, shortly after it launched, and helped build the News Feed. As part of a broader reorganization last year, he was put in charge of Facebook’s “family of apps,” including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

In an internal post Thursday announcing his departure, Cox alluded to Facebook’s recently announced plans to put privacy first by emphasizing private, encrypted and ephemeral conversations across its products.

“As Mark has outlined, we are turning a new page in our product direction,” he wrote in post shared on his personal Facebook page. “This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through.”

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, Facebook said Cox intends to leave after a brief transition period.

For years, Facebook was known for having a remarkably stable executive bench. But in recent months, the company has lost its chief security officer, its top policy and communications exec, both founders of Instagram and the CEO of WhatsApp.

Daniels, who previously ran Facebook’s affordable internet initiative, only took over WhatsApp less than a year ago, after WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum stepped down as CEO amid a reported clash over Facebook’s approach to personal data and encryption.

The steady drip of executive departures come amid a bruising two year period in which Facebook has faced criticism for its data privacy practices as well as stories about fake news, election meddling and filter bubbles.