Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Facebook's Loss of Product Chief Puts More Pressure on CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook's Loss of Product Chief Puts More Pressure on CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Cox joined 13 years ago and helped create Facebook's News Feed feature.

"Since we have now decided on the basic direction of our family of apps for the next few years, I do not plan on immediately appointing anyone to fill Chris's role in the near term", Zuckerberg wrote.

"As Mark has outlined, we are turning a new page in our product direction, focused on an encrypted, interoperable, messaging network", Cox wrote.

Cox "is a great guy who is someone who has always tried to do good", said David Kirkpatrick, an author who became well acquainted with Cox and Zuckerberg while writing a book about Facebook.

"Yesterday, we made a server configuration change that triggered a cascading series of issues", a Facebook spokesman told Barron's in an email message Thursday.

Cox on Monday informed the company of his intention to resign, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday.

The company is facing multiple federal investigations over data privacy, stagnating user growth in its most lucrative markets, and a record-low reputation with the public.

Also departing is WhatsApp Vice President Chris Daniels, adding to a string of recent high-profile exits from Facebook's product and communications teams.

"Whenever there is a shift in strategy, it's not unusual to see some personnel changes", eMarketer analyst Jasmine Enberg said.

Cox and Daniels are among a string of executives who've left Facebook since 2017.

Cathcart and Simo worked closely to bring video uploading tools and professional video content to Facebook.

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

While Zuckerberg also said that Cox had spoken before about his desire to leave the company, that his departure is tied directly to Facebook's so-called privacy pivot, is significant.

Numerous changes Zuckerberg outlined involve duplicating some of WhatsApp's features in Facebook's other messaging apps. 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.

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

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