Facebook Stock Dips in After-Hours Trading After Latest Executive Departures

Andrew Cummings
March 15, 2019

Cox's exit marks a huge upheaval in the company's executive suite. Chris Cox was responsible for Facebook's flagship apps - including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook itself.

The news of Cox's departure comes a week after Zuckerberg announced a new "privacy-focused" mission for Facebook that will emphasise private messaging over public sharing. Zuckerberg wants to encrypt user content and make posts, messages, and photos ephemeral, much like Snapchat.

A campaigner from a political pressure group protests as founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg failed to attend a meeting on fake news held by Parliament's Digital, Culture Media and Sport committee in London November 27, 2018.

Media reports cite sources inside Facebook who said the new privacy focus was partially why Cox made a decision to leave. He had left a graduate program at Stanford University to join Facebook in 2005 as a software engineer and helped developed its original news feed feature. He also built Facebook's first human resources teams and oversaw the strategy for the apps that Facebook owns, Zuckerberg wrote.

The departures of Cox and Daniels come a day after a technical issue that limited use of Facebook and Instagram for most of Wednesday. "This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through", he said in a Facebook post on Thursday. It's trying to fend off a criminal investigation surrounding data deals that it made with other companies and an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over privacy concerns. Longtime Facebook executive Will Cathcart will head up WhatsApp.

Facebook on Thursday announced the departure of two key executives, Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and WhatsApp VP Chris Daniels.

Will Cathcart, vice president of product management, will replace Daniels. Fidji Simo, who has worked on Facebook's video startegy, will be in charge of the Facebook app, but won't have the VP of Product title Cox did. In a note to employees about Cox's departure, Zuckerberg said Cox had been talking to him for a few years about doing something else but chose to stay after 2016 to help improve the social network. That path will determine whether Facebook can fix its tarnished image or continue to suffer a steady drip of unflattering headlines and rack up more executive departures.

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