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Facebook's chief product officer and head of Whatsapp are leaving

15 March 2019

Cox, who dropped out of a Stanford University graduate degree program to work with Zuckerberg when the company had just 15 engineers, was widely seen as one of the most popular and capable executives at the social network - and a potential replacement CEO, were Zuckerberg to leave. Cox, who has been with the company for 13 years, announced his departure in a blog post Thursday without explaining what led to his exit.

Facebook's top executive in charge of all products, Chris Cox, the longtime confidant of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, is leaving the company, the highest-level departure at the social media giant and follows almost two years of sustained crises.

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.

The CEO reiterated that the company is organizing around a "privacy-focused" emphasis on private messaging, which he announced last week. In a memo to employees, Zuckerberg suggested the events were linked. In the past two years, the founders of Facebook acquisitions Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus have left for various reasons, often over strategy.

"This is an important change as we begin the next chapter of our work building the privacy-focused social foundation for the future".

Daniels took the helm of WhatsApp after founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton left the messaging app past year, reportedly over disagreements about the increased integration of WhatsApp's operations with Facebook's.

Cox posted about his departure on Facebook, but didn't explain why he made a decision to leave.

"As Mark has outlined, we are turning a new page in our product direction, focused on an encrypted, interoperable, messaging network", Cox wrote. It's a product vision attuned to the subject matter of today: a modern communications platform that balances expression, safety, security, and privacy.

"This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through", he wrote, signaling that he wasn't "excited" about it himself.

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

Facebook's chief product officer and head of Whatsapp are leaving