Facebook loses two key executives

Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox

Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox

Chris Daniels, who leads encrypted messaging app WhatsApp, will also depart Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote in a post announcing the news on Thursday.

Two senior executives at Facebook left the company this week, with one of them emphasizing Facebook's need to find leaders who were "excited" about the new direction of the social media company, according to CNN Business. A big piece of that plan hinges on combining the messaging infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram, and facebook Messenger.

In his blog post, Zuckerberg said that Cox had told him that he planned to move on several years ago, but that Cox chose to hold off on leaving until the company made more progress combating misinformation and Russian meddling - controversies that erupted in the wake of the 2016 election. The leadership shakeup coincides with Facebook's recently-announced efforts to become a more privacy-focused platform.

Will Cathcart, vice president of product management, will now lead WhatsApp, and Head of Video, Games and Monetization Fidji Simo will be the new head of the Facebook app, Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg said Cox's departure creates opportunities for leaders who are energized about the path ahead.

Zuckerberg phrased that more delicately, noting that "We both realized we had too much important work to do to improve our products for society". In October, Oculus co-founder and former CEO Brendan Iribe announced he was leaving the Facebook-owned virtual reality company.

A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that Cox informed Facebook about his intended departure on March 11, just five days after Zuckerberg made his privacy plan public.

Neither Cox nor Zuckerberg specified what led to their split.

"Embarking on this new vision represents the start of a new chapter for us", Zuckerberg said in describing the changes amid a new direction in company strategy outlined by Zuckerberg last week.

"Chris and I have worked closely together to build our products for more than a decade and I will always appreciate his deep empathy for the people using our services and the uplifting spirit he brings to everything he does", Zuckerberg wrote in a message to his employees today.

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