Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced one of the largest restructurings of management in the history of social network business on Tuesday, gave his product manager more responsibility and launched a blockchain department.
The restructuring seemed to consolidate power in the burgeoning Internet company, although it did not involve redundancies or external contracts and did not amend the role of Zuckerberg or Director-General Sheryl Sandberg.
Chris Cox, the product manager responsible for Facebook’s flagship service, will now oversee the widely used Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp services, the company said. WhatsApp has been given a relatively free hand since 2014 when Facebook bought it for $22 Billion, but in recent months, his co-founders have announced their resignation and opened the door to closer integration.
Other executives, Mike Schroepfer, CTO and vice president of growth, Javier Olivan, will watch over other merged businesses, one related to new infrastructure and platforms, and other for centralized services such as the advertisement system. David Marcus, the head of Messenger for the last four years, is leaving the role to start a group to find out how to use blockchain technology on Facebook, he said in a Facebook post.
Blockchain, the technology that supports cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, could have other commercial applications as a transaction log book; though Marcus said, “Facebook has initiated from foundation.”
Stan Chudnovsky, Messenger’s product manager, will replace Marcus as head of the service, Facebook said.
Chris Daniels, who led the Facebook efforts to expand Internet access, will head WhatsApp, succeeding Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp, who said he would leave the company.
A second WhatsApp co-founder, Brian Acton, left in September to establish a new foundation.
Messenger and WhatsApp each have more than a billion users, making them one of the most popular smartphone applications in the world. Kevin Weil, Product Manager at Instagram, is leaving this job to join Facebook’s blockchain department, and Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook News Feed, will take over Weil’s position on Instagram, the company said.