Facebook launched its biggest executive change in its 15-year history this week, appointing new leaders for WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook's core app, and giving new responsibilities to other long-standing Facebook executives, including new efforts to address blockchain technology ,
The steps internally announced to employees today are designed to improve the communication between executives and users' privacy, but the changes also come when Facebook reacts to the backlash of the US presidential election, manipulation attempts by the Russian government and the new ones Cambridge Analytica scandal
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reorganized the corporate giants' product and engineering organizations into three main areas, including a new "family of apps" group led by Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, who previously headed the core Executive, Led Facebook App Cox will now look at Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger for various sources, four social apps with a reach of more than five billion users per month.
Facebook is also building a new team dedicated to blockchain technology. David Marcus, who is responsible for Facebook's standalone messaging app, Messenger, is leaving this post to head the Blockchain group, sources said. This new team will fall under one of the other three divisions, referred to as "New Platforms and Infra," led by CTO Mike Schroepfer. Facebook's AR, VR and Artificial Intelligence activities will also take place in the Schroepfer department.
Longtime Facebook boss Javier Olivan, the company's vice president of growth, will lead the third division, Central Product Services, which will all have common capabilities across multiple products or apps, including advertising, security and growth.
Surprisingly, nobody seems to have left Facebook. Only many old faces in new places.
You may have noticed from the chart that almost all of Facebook's leading product and technical experts are men. That's true, even though Facebook has a number of high profile and influential female product managers who are not directly involved in these changes. For example: Fidji Simo, the video is running; Deb Liu, who runs the Marketplace; and Julie Zhuo, who directs design. Then of course there is Sheryl Sandberg on the business side.
The changes all come at an interesting time for Facebook and Zuckerberg, who have publicly discussed his need to take more responsibility for the impact of Facebook on the world. Zuckerberg's New Year's resolution should fix Facebook, and the restructuring of the team is clearly part of this fix. The hope is that these new roles will maintain a more open communication channel between executives without compromising the speed Facebook is known for. ("Move fast and break things," remember?)
The new product and development organizations have been divided into three main groups.
. 1 The Family of Apps
This is the group Cox will oversee, which includes WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram and the core Facebook app. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom will continue to run Instagram, but the other three apps will have new leaders:
- Chris Daniels, VP of Facebook's Internet.org group, will take over WhatsApp following CEO Jan Koum's resignation last week. Daniels has been on Facebook since 2011 and has much experience in developing products for an international audience in areas where Wi-Fi and infrastructure are weak.
- David Marcus, the leader of Facebook's independent messenger app, Messenger, leaves that role but remains in the business. He moves to lead a new team exploring blockchain technology. Stan Chudnovsky, product manager at Messenger, takes over the Messenger app and the team.
- Will Cathcart, one of Cox's lead product lieutenants, will take over all products for Facebook's core app. Cathcart joined Facebook on Facebook in 2008 and was responsible for Facebook's profile team. (This includes the group working on Facebook's new dating service.)
When all four product managers roll on Cox, this should improve communication between products. Previously, the leaders of all these teams had different bosses. Koum rolled onto Zuckerberg, Systrom rolled to Schroepfer and Marcus answered Olivan. As Facebook develops more features that are included in all apps (eg stories), it makes sense for their executives to work together more closely.
. 2 New Platforms and Infra
This group will be directed by Mike Schroepfer, CTO of Facebook. As you can see from the name, this group will encompass all of Facebook's long-term product and business activities, such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and the newly formed Blockchain group.
- Andrew "Boz" Bosworth, who heads Facebook's AR, VR, and hardware teams, will continue to report to Schroepfer. Boz took over these teams last August after years of Facebook advertising.
- David Marcus reports to Schroepfer in his new role directing Facebook's exploratory blockchain group. The company says nothing about the team, but Marcus is on the board of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, so there is a clear interest in the technology. (He had previously worked for PayPal and started a mobile payment startup.)
- Jay Parikh, Facebook's senior technical director, will lead a new product team focused on privacy products and initiatives (more below) ,
- Workplace, Facebook's corporate product to compete with Slack, will fall under Schroepfer's jurisdiction. This team is led by Kang-Xing Jin, who is known internally as KX and is one of Facebook's longtime product managers. He was actually a classmate of Zuckerberg at Harvard.
- Jerome Pesenti, who heads the Facebook artificial intelligence group, will also report to Schroepfer. Pesenti just came from IBM to Facebook where he worked on "Watson" technology.
. 3 Central Product Services
All other product and engineering functions – advertising, security, growth – will be thanks to another longtime Facebook employee, Javier Olivan, who has been with the company for more than a decade , Olivan has been running the Facebook growth team for years and has been known to help Facebook reach the huge scale it's known for. Olivan will also oversee many important parts of the Facebook business.
- Mark Rabkin, who monitors Facebook's ads and local efforts, will report to Olivan.
- Naomi Gleit, who has been on Facebook since mid-2005 (even longer than Cox), runs community growth and integration as well as Facebook's social good products like the Donate Button. She is also the director of product management for the entire company.
- Alex Schultz, who has been on Facebook since 2007 and runs "Growth Marketing, Data Analytics (Data Science & Data Engineering) and Internationalization for Facebook", also reports to Javi, according to LinkedIn.
Here are a few changes that take place on Facebook this week.
Instagram and Facebook share key product managers
Adam Mosseri, the Facebook product manager who leads News Feed, will move to Instagram to become the company's new VP. In his old job, Mosseri was tasked with developing and explaining Facebook's ever-changing news-feed algorithm for journalists and media outlets, and became a smart Twitter user. The company did not provide any information about its new role, but it seems fair to assume that its experience with a feed on Facebook will help launch another feed on Instagram.
You may be thinking, What about Instagram's existing VP Kevin Weil? Good question. Weil leaves Instagram and joins Facebook's newly formed Blockchain team, led by David Marcus. So some new places for some familiar faces.
A move to the Facebook Communications Team
Facebook also blends the tip of its communications team. Caryn Marooney, who has been in charge of all Facebook communication for the past two years, hands over some of her responsibilities to PR veteran Rachel Whetstone, who joined Facebook last summer. Marooney will take over the product communication and Whetstone will handle the communication for companies.
Whetstone is well known in Silicon Valley. She joined Facebook after broadcasting on Uber during the company's Travis Kalanick PR nightmare. Prior to that, she spent 10 years at Google in public policy communication. She quickly rose to the internal ranks of Facebook and is already an influential voice in the room when it comes to political decisions.