Mark Zuckerberg just reorganized his entire leadership team to bring Facebook’s family of apps (Instagram, Whatsapp, Messenger, and Facebook) closer together and to refocus on growth. Chris Cox got a lot more powerful and some say that Zuckerberg might have tapped him to eventually become his successor as CEO.
Chris Cox joined Facebook in 2005 after dropping out of Stanford where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Symbolic Systems. Cox first worked as an engineer before being promoted to Director of Human Resources, VP Product, and finally Chief Product Officer. Cox helped build Facebook’s Newsfeed and has overseen Facebook’s core product since 2014. He is now taking over responsibility for all 4 primary apps including Instagram, Whatsapp, and Messenger in addition to Facebook.
The move makes Cox one of the most powerful people at Facebook with Sheryl Sandberg (COO) and Zuckerberg himself. According to Wired, “Cox is a brilliant public face for the company because he pairs engineering rigor and Facebook history with an emotive voice that Zuckerberg sometimes lacks.” The fact that he has held both engineering and HR roles at Facebook supports this notion. Cox has long been an internal leader at Facebook and this leadership change positions him as the natural successor to Zuckerberg.
Javier Olivan also got a lot more important and is now one of three direct reports to Zuckerberg on the product side with Chris Cox (CPO) and Mike Schroepfer (CTO). Olivan graduated with an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in 2005 and joined Facebook in 2007 as Head of International Growth. At that time, Facebook was aggressively expanding to universities in Europe and Olivan's Spanish background was a perfect fit to drive that effort. Olivan now runs ad products, analytics, and a group called “integrity, growth, and product management.”
It looks like growth will be important department for Facebook going forward. The growth team helps with new product launches to ensure that it takes off and historically most teams at Facebook have included somebody from Olivan’s team. This is also supported by some other notable changes to the organization including David Marcus leaving Messenger to head up the new Blockchain group. We might be in for a lot of new product launches in the coming months.
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