Amid turmoil, Facebook chief product officer quits

Devin Lawrence
March 16, 2019

One of the key architects of the Facebook social media and advertising platform, chief product officer Chris Cox, is leaving the company after 13 years. "As part of this, I'm sad to share the news that Chris Cox has made a decision to leave the company", he wrote.

Zuckerberg said in a Thursday blog post that chief product officer Chris Cox - who joined the social network in 2005 when it was still in its infancy - was leaving to "do something else".

While Cox gave no specific reason for his move, he noted that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled a new direction away from being the "digital town square" to focus on smaller-scale, private interactions. "This place will forever be a part of me".

In his blog post, Zuckerberg said that Cox had told him several years ago that he planned to move on, but that Cox chose to hold off on leaving until the company made more progress combating misinformation and Russian interference - controversies that erupted in the wake of the 2016 election.

During the a year ago, Facebook has seen a steady stream of executives depart following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, including its chief security officer Alex Stamos, head of communications and public policy Elliot Schrage, WhatsApp founder and CEO Jan Koum and more recently, Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. He pocketed $310 million in gains from exercising Facebook stock options from 2014 through 2017 alone, according to the company's filings with securities regulators. In October, Oculus co-founder and former CEO Brendan Iribe announced he was leaving the Facebook-owned virtual reality company.

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No replacement has been announced for Mr Cox.

That effort will include introducing WhatsApp encryption technology to Facebook's Messenger app and Instagram's messaging option.

Javier Olivan, who has been overseeing all of the central product services for Facebook's family of apps team, will now be in charge of identifying where apps should be more integrated. Zuckerberg is also promising to make photos and posts automatically disappear from public view.

A long-time Zuckerberg confidante, Cox's departure timing suggests he may not have been on board with the new corporate vision. "Facebook a massive and evolving company, so it's only natural that in a company that large, not everyone will agree with every strategic change", she said.

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