Chris Cox, one of the first handful of engineers hired to Facebook, a close personal friend of Mark Zuckerberg's and, until very recently, Chief Product Officer of the entire suite of the company's products, is departing the company. Days after Zuckerberg revealed a plan to transform Facebook into an encryption-focused messaging company, Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and Whatsapp Vice President Chris Daniels is leaving.
"I'm sad to share the news that Chris Cox has chose to leave the company", wrote Zuckerberg. "This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through", he said in a statement.
The resignations come as Zuckerberg seeks to develop a privacy "vision" for the future of the social network.
"As part of this, I'm sad to share the news that Chris Cox has chose to leave the company", he wrote.
Facebook has lost several top executives during the last two years, including its general counsel, chief security officer, and co-founders of WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus, a virtual reality firm it bought in 2014.
The departures happened right after Zuckerberg announced last week that he was revamping the Facebook platform to become more secure.
Zuckerberg said Cox's departure creates opportunities for leaders who are energized about the path ahead.
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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.
"Chris and I have worked closely together to build our products for more than a decade and I will always appreciate his deep empathy for the people using our services and the uplifting spirit he brings to everything he does", Zuckerberg wrote in a message to his employees today.
The news comes after Facebook suffered its largest outage across the family of apps to date for about 24 hours, with issues being resolved late yesterday.
Cox posted about his departure on Facebook, but didn't explain why he chose to leave.
Zuckerberg said on Thursday that Olivan will now lead the effort to integrate Facebook apps, a key move as the company encrypts conversations on more of its messaging services and makes them compatible.
Will Cathcart, who currently heads the Facebook app, will now lead WhatsApp, while video boss Fidji Simo will take his job. Facebook plans to unify Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger in a private platform, in addition to its public component.
Zuckerberg still has a number of long-time product and engineering lieutenants.