Image Credit: Jenny Nilsson
Facebook is one of the most scrutinized companies in the tech sector. Just this past week, Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety at Facebook, faced down lawmakers in Congress demanding answers on how Facebook’s apps are affecting the mental health of children and the spread of misinformation on its platforms.
A few days later, Facebook whistleblower Francis Haugen revealed herself in an interview with 60 minutes, after leaking documents to the Wall Street Journal about Facebook’s alleged harmful internal processes. Haugen testified to Congress on October 5 that Facebook values “profits over people.” In the midst of all this controversy, the company also experienced a five-hour long outage of its website and all of its applications on Monday that left employees locked out of the building and unable to communicate through its internal platforms.
The events of this past week show that Facebook is a company at a breaking point, but zooming out, it becomes clear that top executives at Facebook could have seen this point coming for a while now.
Recently change has reverberated companywide, with several top executives heading for the door across the business. The Global Business and Advertising team has been hit particularly hard, with four executives in the past six months throwing in the towel after more than a decade with the company — either leaving for bigger opportunities or to plot out their next move.
Mass executive turnover is no anomaly for Big Tech. After a colossal reshuffling and new CEO appointment at Amazon, top executives that had been with the company for years started to head out the door in droves. A similar phenomenon has been occurring at Facebook, it appears, over the course of the year. Follow the departure timeline inside the Revenue and Global Business unit of the company, as well as other major players that worked for Facebook’s core apps.
March 30, 2021: Revenue Chief David Fischer decides to part ways with Facebook
David Fischer, Facebook’s Chief Revenue Officer, announces his impending departure from the company by fall 2021, setting off a domino effect inside the Revenue and Business Group functions of the company. He had been with Facebook for over a decade.
June 10, 2021: Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s VP of Global Business Group (ads boss), quits
Three months after Fischer announces his resignation, Carolyn Everson, another lead within Fischer’s division, also announces her departure. Everson worked as VP of Facebook’s Global Business Group and was regarded as Facebook’s Advertising Chief. She built and maintained many of the company’s relationships with current advertisers over the course of the decade that she spent at Facebook.
July 8, 2021: Instacart names Fidji Simo, Head of Facebook App, as its CEO, marking her departure from the social media giant
In a company blog post, Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta announced that board member Fidji Simo would be the next CEO of the online grocery delivery startup. Up to that point, Simo had been somewhat of a veteran at Facebook. She joined the tech giant in 2011 as one of its first 1,000 employees and worked her way to becoming one of the most powerful women leaders in the company. She started at Instacart on August 2.
July 15, 2021: Leader of Oculus leaves for Netflix
Mike Verdu, VP of Content for Facebook Reality Labs, gets tapped by Netflix to become its VP of Game Development. As VP of Content, Verdu was at the helm of Oculus Studios.
August 26, 2021: Coinbase recruits ex-Facebook Brand and Product Marketing Head as CMO
Kate Rouch, Head of Product and Brand Marketing for Insta, WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook app, Public Affairs and the Facebook company, joined Coinbase as CMO. Rouch has over a decade of marketing experience under her belt and worked closely with Everson and Fischer at Facebook.
August 31, 2021: Mark D’Arcy, Head of Global Business Marketing and Chief Creative Officer, leaves Facebook
Mark D’Arcy is one of the latest in the advertising unit to leave Facebook. He worked under Everson, and, just like many of his colleagues, had been with the company for more than 10 years. He created Facebook’s in-house creative studio and built its social media advertising business from the ground up. He has not yet announced what his next career step is.
September 22, 2021: Longtime CTO Mike Schroepfer says he’ll step down
Most recently, Mike Schroepfer announced he is stepping down in 2022 after a 13-year run at the company, eight of which were spent as technology chief. Schroepfer directly reports to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and has had a hand in creating nearly every organization at Facebook; he is also responsible for creating the artificial intelligence unit at the company.
Widely considered to be number three in the chain of command (his desk sits next to Zuckerberg’s and COO Sheryl Sandberg’s at Facebook’s headquarters), Schroepfer won’t be splitting with the company completely in 2022. He will be stepping into an advisory “fellow” role once he departs, and Head of Facebook Reality Labs Andrew Bosworth will replace him.
While no definite conclusions can be drawn about why so many executives walked out Facebook’s doors this year, the departures beg the question of how the company will rebuild its leadership and move forward in this time of immense public and political pressure.