Two top Facebook execs are leaving the company

Two top Facebook execs are leaving the company

Zuckerberg recently announced that Facebook would emphasize user privacy more via encrypted messaging, a significant directional shift from the company's long-time goal of openness and connectedness.

Cox's departure removes a layer of management, bringing Zuckerberg closer to a family of apps that he wants to make compatible, in what technology analysts expect will be a complicated engineering task.

"It is with great sadness I share with you that after thirteen years, I've made a decision to leave the company", Cox wrote in his post. He joined 13 years ago and helped create Facebook's news feed feature. In addition to Cox's departure, Chris Daniels, the head of WhatsApp, is also leaving the company. "He believes deeply in providing end-to-end encryption to everyone in the world across our services", Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post, welcoming Will Cathcart as the new head of WhatsApp.

Facebook will not appoint a direct replacement for Cox. Both men are long-serving Facebook veterans - Cox was one of Facebook's earliest employees, and Daniels has been with the company since 2011 - and trusted lieutenants of Mark Zuckerberg.

Cox was in charge of Facebook's apps including its flagship social media site, as well as Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. 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. Daniels will be replaced by Will Cathcart as the head of WhatsApp, however.

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Facebook isn't hiring another executive to replace Cox. Meanwhile, Javier Olivan will lead the effort to better integrate the Facebook apps.

Originally published March 14, 1:19 p.m. Update, 1:48 p.m.: Includes more background and Zuckerberg's post to employees; 1:55 p.m.: Adds background about other executive departures; 2:15 p.m.: Includes post from Chris Cox.

Forrester analyst Jessica Liu said it sounded like Cox was "subtly disagreeing" with Zuckerberg's privacy memo, based on Cox's farewell post.

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

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