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More Unfriending At Facebook As Product Chief And Head Of WhatsApp Exit

Deadline — Dade Hayes

Facebook’s time of transition, a seemingly unending phase since last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal segued to a host of other corporate issues, is continuing with the exits of product chief Chris Cox and WhatsApp head Chris Daniels.

Will Cathcart will take the place of Daniels at WhatsApp. Fidji Simo will be the new head of the Facebook app, the company said. Cox, who has been considered a close confidant of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, will not be replaced. Instead, reflecting the “family of apps” product management structure, Simo at Facebook, Adam Mosseri at Instagram, Stan Chudnovsky at Messenger and Will Cathcart at WhatsApp will report directly to Zuckerberg. Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio will report directly to COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who earlier this month announced plans to shift the social media giant toward private messaging and communications, announced the reshuffling in a lengthy memo to employees. He described the executive moves as “an important change as we begin the next chapter of our work building the privacy-focused social foundation for the future.

While the company’s financial position and stock price remain strong, it has been hit by a series of blows that gained wider attention around the 2016 U.S. election. Issues with bogus news and hate messages spreading on the platform have given way to reports of misappropriated user data, charges of bias from both the left and the right, Congressional hearings and louder talk of government regulation. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is running for president in 2020 on a platform that includes breaking up Facebook and other digital giants.

Facebook shares, which have gained more than 25% in 2019 to date, slipped nearly 2% on the news, closing at $170.17.

Here is the full text of Zuckerberg’s memo to employees:

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