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Top execs leave Facebook amid privacy push: 'Need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through'

Facebook's leadership used to be more stable

Christopher Cox, chief product officer of Facebook Inc., speaks during the WSJDLive Global Technology Conference in Laguna Beach, California, on Oct. 25, 2016. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Two senior executives at Facebook left the company this week, with one of them emphasizing Facebook's need to find leaders who were "excited" about the new direction of the social media company, according to CNN Business.

The departures of chief product officer Chris Cox and WhatsApp vice president Chris Daniels were announced Thursday.

"This is an important change as we begin the next chapter of our work building the privacy-focused social foundation of the future," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a statement. "I'm deeply grateful for everything Chris Cox and Chris Daniels have done here, and I'm looking forward to working with Will [Cathcart] and Fidji [Simo] in their new roles as well as everyone who will be critical to achieving this vision."

Cox joined Facebook in 2005 and is largely responsible for the News Feed, one of Facebook's foundational features. Daniels worked for Facebook for eight years, and was promoted to oversee WhatsApp last May.

Zuckerberg's statement indicated that Cox had been looking to move on from Facebook for some time, but that he stayed on longer to meet some crucial company needs.

"For a few years, Chris has been discussing with me his desire to do something else. ... But after 2016, we both realized we had too much important work to do to improve our products for society, and he stayed to help us work through these issues and help us chart a course for our family of apps going forward," Zuckerberg wrote.

The statement did not address the reasons for Daniels' departure, nor did it specify what either former executive would do next.

"As Mark has outlined, we are turning a new page in our product direction," Cox wrote in a statement. "This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through."

Zuckerberg recently announced that Facebook would emphasize user privacy more via encrypted messaging, a significant directional shift from the company's long-time goal of openness and connectedness.

"Public social networks will continue to be very important in people's lives — for connecting with everyone you know, discovering new people, ideas and content, and giving people a voice more broadly," Zuckerberg wrote. "But now, with all the ways people also want to interact privately, there's also an opportunity to build a simpler platform that's focused on privacy first."

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