Major Executives Cox, Daniels Exit Facebook

As Facebook prepares a major private-messaging push, the company is losing two of its most well-regarded executives.

Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, and Chris Daniels, vice president at WhatsApp, are exiting, the tech titan said Thursday.

Mark Zuckerberg said the departures are directly related to his recent decision to take the company in a new privacy-focused direction.

“As we embark on this next major chapter, Chris [Cox] has decided now is the time to step back,” Facebook’s cofounder-CEO notes in a new post. “At the same time, as we embark on this new chapter, Chris Daniels has also decided to leave the company.”

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One of Facebook’s first engineers, Cox has been with the company for more than a decade. During that time, he helped build Facebook’s original News Feed and shepherded its core apps through one iteration after another.

In 2014, Cox was named Facebook’s chief product officer. He was then tasked with overseeing the company’s entire apps division last year, as part of a major reorganization.

Daniels has been with Facebook for eight years. During his tenure he headed its Internet.org initiative. Under Cox’s command, Daniels was then tapped to run WhatsApp, last year, as part of the same reorganization.

Facebook’s shift toward private messaging represents a big gamble for the company.

Even Zuckerberg has admitted that privacy isn’t a word many consumers associate with Facebook. “Frankly, we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services,” he wrote in a recent post.

Yet as Zuckerberg sees it, Facebook has no other choice but to push for private messaging.

“The future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services, where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won't stick around forever,” he said recently. “This is the future I hope we will help bring about.”

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