Facebook loses two important executives amid new privacy push
Mar 15 2019
"Most all my personal highs and lows of the last decade have been tied up in the journey of this company, with Mark, and with so many of you", Cox wrote in a post.
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. These apps have been distinct until recently, when Zuckerberg announced plans to unify them under with a new focus on privacy. It also means that Zuckerberg will seize control of Facebook's key products by making the leaders of its most important properties like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp report directly to him-at least for the near term.
Cox, who grew up in Winnetka and graduated from New Trier in 2000, has been with Facebook since the company's early days. "This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through".
Cox joined Facebook in 2005 as one of its original software developers.
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.
Cox's departure removes a layer of management, bringing Zuckerberg closer to a family of apps that he wants to make compatible.
Cox posted about his departure on Facebook, but didn't explain why he chose to leave. 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. 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.
Facebook has seen plenty of internal rearranging over the past couple of years, as executives have left the company or moved around it into new roles. He will be replaced by Will Cathcart. 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.