Facebook Loses Two Top Executives
Two of Facebook’s top executives — one regarded as the company’s No. 3, and the other the head of its WhatsApp messaging service — are leaving after disagreements with Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, over the social network’s future direction. The differences stemmed from Mr. Zuckerberg’s asserting control over his company and its apps — Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger — by rolling out a plan to integrate the services into a single privacy-focused platform, according to six people involved in the situation.
The change is a substantial shift for Facebook, which has traditionally encouraged people to publicly share posts, videos and photos. Executives at Facebook who had run the various services were concerned that knitting together the apps would take a toll on the popularity and growth of their individual products, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly. And with Mr. Zuckerberg exerting more control, the executives were also fearful of losing autonomy and power, they said.
While the outlines are clear, Facebook has offered few details and company officials have acknowledged significant open questions about what the shared messaging platform and business model would look like. Personnel changes announced Thursday indicate Mr. Zuckerberg is putting in place a management team that is fully on board with the new direction.
“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,’ Mr. Zuckerberg said in the Facebook post announcing the moves. In the wake of Mr. Cox’s departure, Fidji Simo has been promoted to oversee the Facebook app, and Will Cathcart will replace Mr. Daniels as the head of WhatsApp. Those executives and current Instagram chief Adam Mosseri will report to Mr. Zuckerberg directly, while Antonio Lucio, who joined the company as chief marketing officer last year, will report to Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. Mr. Zuckerberg also said Javier Olivan would oversee integrating messaging and direct “where our apps should be more integrated.”
“Whenever there is a shift in strategy, it’s not unusual to see some personnel changes,” said eMarketer senior analyst Jasmine Enberg. “What we do know is that Zuckerberg has a new vision for Facebook that will be more focused on private communication. That’s a big shift for the company, which was built around public sharing.”