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Facebook Top Product Execs Cox and Daniels to Depart

Two of Facebook’s top product executives, Chris Cox and Chris Daniels, will leave the company as it pivots toward a future focused on private, encrypted messaging. Mr. Cox was head of all product for Facebook, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and the core Facebook app, while Mr. Daniels headed up WhatsApp. 

Mr. Cox said in a Facebook post announcing his departure that the company needed “leaders who are excited to see the new direction through,” suggesting he may not have been completely aligned with the company’s new direction. Mr. Zuckerberg, meanwhile, sounded a similar theme in his own Facebook post. “While it is sad to lose such great people, this also creates opportunities for more great leaders who are energized about the path ahead to take on new and bigger roles.”

But the loss is significant for Facebook. Mr. Cox has been one of Mr. Zuckerberg’s closest confidants and was widely viewed as one of the company’s most powerful executives. It was only last May that he was elevated to his current role as part of a broader reorganization. His departure puts Mr. Zuckerberg directly in charge of product direction at Facebook. The company said it didn’t plan to fill Mr. Cox’s role “in the near term.”

The question now is who else at Facebook isn’t fully on board with Mr. Zuckerberg’s “privacy-focused social foundation for the future.”

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