MENLO PARK, California: Facebook will undergo major organisational changes inside its Menlo Park-based headquarters and with its board of directors, including having a new director fill the board seat left open by WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum.
Jeff Zients, the CEO of the multinational holding company Cranemere, will join Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, venture capitalists Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen and four others on Facebook’s board effective May 31, the day of Facebook’s shareholder meeting, the company announced Tuesday.
Koum, whose company WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook for US$16bil (RM63.70bil) in 2014, said earlier this month that he would not stand for re-election. He also departed Facebook, leaving nearly US$1bil (RM3.98bil) in unvested stock on the table.
“I am proud to join the Facebook Board and I look forward to working with Mark and the other directors as the company builds for the future,” said Zients in a statement. “This is an exciting time for the company, and I am delighted to be part of the Board as the company works to face the opportunities and challenges of trying to bring the world closer together.”
Zuckerberg welcomed Zients to the board on his Facebook page, saying Zients is a “rare expert in both business and public policy”.
“This is an important time for Facebook as we take a broader view of our responsibility, and Jeff’s experience will help us navigate the challenges we face,” said Zuckerberg. “I also want to thank Jan Koum … Jan has done an amazing job building WhatsApp, and I’ve learned so much working with him. I will miss working closely with him.”
Prior to joining Cranemere in 2017, Zients worked as director of the United States National Economic Council and served as economic adviser to President Barack Obama. He got his start with the Obama administration in 2013 after he was contracted to fix the then-struggling healthcare.gov website.
After dealing with Russian interference in the 2016 election on its platform and currently reeling from the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, Facebook will restructure its executives into three branches, according to Recode which reported the changes on Tuesday.
The three new Facebook branches are: family of apps, which include Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Facebook’s mobile app, led by Chief Product Officer Chris Cox; central product services, which include advertisements, product management and analytics, led by Vice President of Growth Javier Olivan; and new platforms and infrastructure, which include augmented reality and virtual reality, blockchain and data privacy, under Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer.
Longtime Facebook executives were shuffled to lead new fields. David Marcus, the longtime executive in charge of Messenger, will move to figure out how to best integrate blockchain to Facebook’s platform.
“After nearly four unbelievably rewarding years leading Messenger, I have decided it was time for me to take on a new challenge,” said Marcus on his Facebook page. “I’m setting up a small group to explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.”
Chris Daniels, vice president of Facebook’s Internet.org group, aimed at bringing Internet services to developing countries, will succeed Koum as the top executive for WhatsApp. — The San Jose Mercury News/Tribune News Service